Mark Wahlberg stars as Chris Farraday who used to smuggle drugs. Now he has gone straight and trying to keep a clean profile, but his brother Andy (played by Caleb Landry Jones) gets into trouble when he loses drugs he is trying to smuggle into the U.S. The mob boss Tim Briggs (played by Giovanni Ribisi) meets with Chris and tells him that his entire family will be killed unless he comes up with $700,000 for the drugs lost by his brother.
Chris hatches a plan to go to Panama, with the help of his friend Danny Raymer (played by Lukas Haas) where he knows he can buy counterfeit currency, smuggle it back to the U.S. on a ship that they can work as crew, and then sell it for the amount of money he needs to repay his brother's debt. It is safer to smuggle the fake money that to try to bring in drugs because the dogs cannot smell it.
The mob gang breaks into Chris's house while he is out of the country to threaten his family. Chris gets the counterfeit money but it is not good quality so he has to go to a crazy cartel connection Gonzalo (played by Diego Luna) that he knows from before, to get counterfeit money of good quality. Chris convinces Gonzalo to sell him the counterfeit money but on the way to make the exchange, Chris's brother steals the real money to use it to buy cocaine instead. When Chris and Danny arrive without real money, Gonzalo forces them to be part of an armed robbery.
During the robbery, a Jason Pollack painting that looks like a bunch of spilled paint on an old canvas is stolen. Chris and Danny escape from Gonzalo and barely make it back to the ship right before it leaves. Chris discovers that his brother has brought cocaine on the ship and finds the hiding place. The captain gets wise that something is going on and orders a full custom inspection of the ship to look for the contraband. Chris throws the fake money overboard and hides the cocaine in the rug shampoo machine, which is taken off the ship. Chris sets up the mob boss to get caught with it. Chris rescues his wife who is unconscious and about to be buried alive under cement being poured for the foundation of a building. He finds her by getting to the construction site and calling her cell phone which she still has with her and Chris hears it ring.
Andy is able to later retrieve the fake money from the ocean which they sell. He also buys the van that was used in the robbery from the customs auction because it was left on the ship and never claimed by anyone, to get the painting which they find out is worth $20 million.
Best part of story, including ending:
The difficulties that Chris faces seem many times like they are insurmountable but he deals with each situation in very clever way and somehow gets out of them.
Best scene in story:
When the van is sold without customs officers noticing that what appears to be an old paint canvas drop-cloth that is worthless is actually a famous Jason Pollack painting. It is fun to see such a treasure, that is right in front of their eyes, being ignored.
Opinion about the main character:
The character of Chris is a criminal but he takes care of his family. He goes to great lengths to save his brother and his wife, which is an admirable quality for a smuggler.