Ben Foster and Giovanni Ribisi are are set to join Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale in the $30 million English-language Universal remake of Icelandic thriller Reykjavik-Rotterdam, the blandly translated titled Contraband so says Variety. The film centers on Wahlberg's character, a security guard/ex alcohol smuggler now on the straight and narrow with financial troubles who is lured back into the game by his brother in law. You know the drill. Ben Foster last seen in sci-fi misfire Pandorum and soon to kick butt with Jason Statham in the upcoming The Mechanic, will play Mark's brother in law and Giovanni Ribisi's (last seen in some no budget indie called Avatar) role is not nailed down yet. I confess I haven't seen the Icelandic original, but i do know that the remake's director Baltasar Koramkur is somewhat of a multi-tasker, having co-wrote, produced and starred in the original, which was itself directed by a chap called Oskar Jonasson. It was also Icelands foreign language entry to The 2010 Academy Awards but God knows how much competition it had. Aaron Guzikowski, who wrote the Black Listed script Prisoners, has adapted, and the movie has already been slapped with a March 16th, 2012 release.
But I'm guessing the appeal of the original thriller is it's native Iceland which lends itself to a movie with cold and icy atmosphere. I fear that like most English Language re-do's it will strip everything appealing away from the original, leaving just a frowning annoyed looking Mark Wahlberg in a by the numbers, one last Job kind of deal. I say watch the original first, I intend to.