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Contraband Review Critics


Dave White Profile

The Funky Bunch refused to help on this one. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

I Can't Believe It's Not Bad Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Contraband has a few moments of tension, but it adheres to a predictable heist formula hardly worth trafficking in.

    Read Full Review

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    The lead role of a working class former smuggler who dirties his hands again to save his family fits Mark Wahlberg like a glove.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    It's a genre film, not great art, though there's a good joke about art - a pricey piece of action painting, appropriately enough - but it's a thoroughly satisfying entertainment, and, in this season of lowered expectations, a nice surprise.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Contraband, while often grungy and far-fetched, does keep you watching. And in January, that's recommendation enough.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Contraband reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Lots of suspense, violence, language in smuggling thriller.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Contraband is an intense action thriller about a former smuggler (played by Mark Wahlberg) who's forced to go back into business to protect his family. Expect distressing violence: The bad guys beat up and nearly sexually assault the main character's wife, as well as point guns at his tween kids. There's also fighting, shooting, killing, and blood. Language is another major issue, with characters saying either "f--k" or "s--t" literally every couple of minutes. The bad guys smuggle cocaine, and viewers see huge bricks of it; characters are also seen snorting some. A secondary character is a recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon.

  • Families can talk about Contraband's violence. Is it suspenseful or gory? Is it necessary to the story?
  • The characters use questionable methods to accomplish their goals. What message does that send to viewers? Do the ends ever justify the means?
  • At the end of the movie, the main characters are left with the promise of great -- albeit ill-gotten -- riches. Do you think they'll find happiness?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: There's some teamwork, with characters needing to solve a dangerous problem quickly, but they use illegal and immoral means to do so. The main characters generally show empathy, but only to people already in their little circle; others get the opposite treatment.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The hero is a trustworthy, reliable family man. But he resorts to illegal activities, violence, and trickery in a pinch. He also swears nonstop.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: The worst violence happens when a vicious gangster threatens the main character's wife and kids while he's away. The gangster beats up the wife, and a henchman pulls a gun on the kids (who are about 8 or 10). Later, the wife is nearly sexually assaulted and then beaten further; she's knocked into unconsciousness. Also one major scene of shooting and killing, with lots of blood and several dead bodies, plus some hand-to-hand fighting and a few car crashes.

  • sex false1

    Sex: A loving married couple kisses and says "I love you." Some brief innuendo.

  • language false5

    Language: Almost constant swearing, with either "f--k" or "s--t" said literally every couple of minutes. Other, less frequently heard words include "p---y," "ass,""c--t," "a--hole," "hell," "goddamn," and "bitch."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The main character refuses to smuggle drugs, but the bad guys make their living smuggling cocaine. Viewers see big sealed bags of it, and characters occasionally snort some. A secondary character is a recovering alcoholic. He attends an AA meeting but falls off the wagon and drinks whisky in a bar. Characters are also seen drinking beer at a wedding, and minor characters are seen smoking cigarettes.