mark walhberg

Mark Wahlberg in Universal's 'Contraband'

*Hold on to your seats.

If you searching for a movie that delivers a sure fire adrenaline rush, look no further than “Contraband,” which opens nationwide today (01-13-12).

“Contraband” is a fast-pace thriller set in New Orleans starring Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg in one of his most compelling roles to date), who has abandoned a life of smuggling to devote his time to his wife and family. He’s blissfully content, living a serene life in surburbia with his wife, Kate (a blond Kate Beckinsale) and his two young sons.

But when his young brother-in-law Andy (newcomer Caleb Landry Jones) botches a drug deal, Wahlberg is forced out of retirement to settle the debt. He’s given a precious few hours before slimy drug dealer Tim Briggs (in an incredible and chilling performance by Giovanni Ribisi), shoots and kills his whole family.

Wahlberg enlists the help of some old friends to travel toPanama on board the Borden cargo ship. Once in Panama, they attempt to secure counterfeit money to bring back to the states.

Captain Camp (J. K. Simmons), is suspicious of Farraday from the instant he boards the ship, aware of his shady smuggling past. But Camp has a few surprises of his own that eventually reveal he is not all that he appears to be.

In Panama, Farraday, Andy and friend Danny (comically portrayed by Lucas Haas) meet a  drug lord, Gonzalo (a charismatic but cutthroat Diego Luna). But a secretive and slick move by Andy causes Gonzalo to viciously turn on Farraday.

To spare his life, Gonzalo forces Farraday to hijack an armored truck that quickly leads to a harrowing shootout with Panama police. There’s plenty of action as Farraday and associates try to escape in a cat-and-mouse car chase that must rank as one of the most action-packed in film history.

Special shout outs to Tarik (played by African American actor Lucky Johnson), the affable friend who keeps a loyal lookout for Farraday as Farraday races to return to the ship; and to Sebastian (Ben Foster), Farraday’s troubled best friend, a recovering drug addict who commits the ultimate betrayal and throws Farraday’s wife into life-threatening danger.

So plunge into your popcorn, put your feet up and enjoy this explosive thriller that will definitely keep you engrossed from beginning to end.

“Contraband” opens Friday, January 13. A Universal Pictures directed by Baltasar Kormakuv. Rated R.