NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Spectre.
The film opens on a large container ship. Police, acting on a tip, begin to board it via helicopters and U.S. Customs boats. A young man, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) realizes this and wakes up his roommate and friend Walter (Jason Mitchell). They run for their stash of drugs, and throw it in a duffel bag. Andy outraces the police and throws the bag of drugs over the side of the boat before they see him do it, and masking it by pretending to smoke a cigarette.
We cut to New Orleans at a wedding reception. Our protagonist, Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) and his wife Kate (Kate Beckinsale) are guests of Danny Raymer’s (Lukas Haas) wedding. Along the group is Chris’ best friend Sebastian Abney (Ben Foster). The group is happy for Danny. Chris is accosted by Church (David O’Hara) a former acquaintance, who tells him if ever wants to get back into the game, he should let him know.
To pass the time at the reception, Danny asks about Chris’ former life of a smuggler. He and Sebastian relate how they smuggled a Ferrari to a customer; they gutted the interior of its parts and let the guy buy the shell at a cheap price, then sold him the interior bits at a lower cost.
Andy and Walter go talk to their boss and are honest with him about what went wrong with the drop. Their boss Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) seems receptive and understanding to their response. Andy thinks they are in the clear. However, Briggs decides to ram their car into a telephone pole, severely injuring them both.
Kate gets a call from the hospital. Andy has been hurt. Kate, Chris, and Sebastian race to the hospital.
When they get there, Andy is banged up bad while Walter is in surgery in critical condition. Andy tells Kate and Chris the truth; that he was smuggling a large amount of cocaine but had to dump it. Both Kate and Chris are angry with him, especially Chris who had gotten out of the life years ago. Andy says that he has to come up with the money or Briggs will kill him. Kate says that isn’t going to happen, but Chris, knowing the lifestyle, gives her a look that shows Briggs will.
Kate is still mad at Andy but needs Chris’ help since he is her brother. Chris tells Sebastian to get some information on Briggs. He wants to settle this mess before it gets out of hand.
The next day, we see that Chris has set up a legitimate alarm company after retiring from the criminal life. He is working at a house, when he gets a call from Sebastian. Briggs hangs out at The Point Bar, a local watering hole. Sebastian warns Chris that Briggs is a total hothead, unlike his brother, who Chris knew.
Chris goes to the bar to talk to Briggs about settling Andy’s debt. Briggs wants 700,000, and Chris balks at paying full price, saying Briggs knows the danger of the trade when it comes to dumping product and wants a reduced rate. Briggs loses it, saying Chris cannot act like he still is in their world and expect things like that. Chris leaves, unsure of what to do.
Chris meets up with Sebastian who is apparently in AA for alcoholism. Chris concludes the only way to save Andy is to do a run of contraband to pay the money.
Chris goes to see Andy, and finds out Walter died at the hospital. Andy is taking off and doesn’t want Kate to know. Chris is angry that he got their family mixed up in the mess and lets him know he isn’t running away.
Chris goes to see Briggs at his apartment, telling him that he will have his money in a month. Briggs is impatient, saying he will give him two weeks then he will kill Andy. Then he will go after Chris, then Kate, then his sons. Chris beats Briggs up and throws him down the stairs, holding a gun to his head. “You think you’re the only guy with a gun!” Chris screams. Chris says he will get his money but if Briggs EVER mentions Kate and his kids again, he will kill him. A little girl comes out of Briggs’ apartment, who happens to be his daughter. Not wanting to harm Briggs in front of his child, Chris hides his gun telling the girl that he and Briggs were “playing.” Chris leaves.
Chris goes to see his father, who is in jail for running stuff like Chris used to. His father tells him the happiest day of his life was when Chris went straight and became a good husband and father. Chris asks if his dad can get him out his old boat that he ran stuff on. His father says he can and tells Chris that he needs to do this for family. But Chris has to be sure that when he gets in, he can get back out.
Chris goes to Kate and tells her he is getting on the ship with Andy to Panama in order to save the family. Kate is aghast because he promised never to do that again, but Chris makes her see there is no other way. Kate makes him promise he will come home.
Chris goes to Sebastian, who has his own fledging construction business. Sebastian suggests drugs from a contact Rubin, but Chris dismisses that. Chris says they will do counterfeit currency. Sebastian helps him get the necessary custom papers, and assembles a crew of inside guys on the boat, including newlywed Danny. Meanwhile, Sebastian will stay behind and watch over Kate and the kids.
Chris leaves for the barge with a duffel bag of cash to pay for the counterfeit bills. He gets onto the boat with Andy and takes off the cash strapped to his chest. “Admit it, you love this shit don’t you?” Andy asks. Chris agrees but notes, “Don’t tell your sister.”
Chris stuffs the cash away behind a couple of fire extinguishers. He talks to his crew and they set up how they will be able to get the money. At Panama, they will get to their contact, pay him, and then get the van with the super bills into the shipping container.
The next morning the ship’s captain, Captain Camp (J.K. Simmons) notices Chris and loses his mind, knowing his former reputation. Despite being cleared to work on the boat, the paranoid Camp demotes Chris to vacuuming duty around the ships quarters.
Chris uses the opportunity to steal barge maps while he is working.
Chris, Andy, Danny, and the rest of the crew are shown by Chris where they will hide the money, behind a tool wall. Somebody starts to come, and they have no choice but to temporarily wall up Andy until trouble passes.
Later, in the gym, Chris explains that they will mess with the propeller on the ship in order to buy them some time in Panama. The engineer of the crew, Igor, is mad because he “Doesn’t like fucking with the boat.”
Meanwhile, back at home, Kate and the kids come home with groceries. Briggs and two goons are nearby. They break in and physically assault Kate while Briggs’ goons hold guns to the boys’ heads. Briggs makes it clear to Kate that Chris better pay them or else. They ransack the place and nearly kill one of Chris and Kate’s sons.
At the Panama Canal, Chris has Danny leak oil from one the ship’s propellers in order to buy them time when they dock. Chris gets a call at the ships main cabin from Kate, explaining Briggs’ attack. Chris tells her to call Sebastian and he’ll watch over them.
As the ship begins to dock, it becomes apparent it is out of control. Danny leaked too much oil and now the ship is a runaway. Chris races to drop the anchor on the boat before it crashes. The boat hits the dock regardless, and it drops three containers off onto the docks. Nevertheless, this will buy Chris and the crew more time.
Captain Camp asks Igor what went wrong. Igor says a propeller malfunctioned. Camp thinks someone tampered with it. Igor tries to say it wasn’t so but Camp is firm. “SOMEBODY tampered with it,” Camp says.
Chris, Andy, and Danny go to their contact to get the super bills. Chris notices something is wrong with the money and gets some iodine and drops a bit on the bills and the paper turns black. Apparently, the contact didn’t use starch free paper. The bills can be easily noticed and thus are useless. The contact says he had no such paper and the only one that does is Gonzalo (Diego Luna) and he has become unhinged ever since becoming a boss. Chris races to find him before they run out of time.
They find his compound, and Chris tells Andy to wait with the money. He and Danny go find Gonzalo and talk out a new deal. Gonzalo is about to do an armored truck heist and offers for Chris to go along and help, getting the fake money for free. Chris declines.
Back in New Orleans, Sebastian goes to see Briggs and says that Chris’s family will be attacked no longer. It is then revealed that everything is Sebastian’s fault. Briggs works for him and was importing the drugs. Sebastian chides Briggs for using Andy, but Briggs says he didn’t know he was Chris’ brother in law.
Briggs watches Chris’ sons play soccer and takes a picture. He calls Andy telling him that if he doesn’t buy a new shipment of drugs from Rubin, he will kill Chris’ kids. Despite everything telling him to stay put, Andy runs with the money, fearful for his nephews’ safety.
Sebastian moves Kate and the kids to his place. He contacts Briggs, who tells him Andy is making the deal.
Danny pulls the van around and realizes that Andy is gone and so is the money they were going to pay for the super bills. Gonzalo, ever paranoid, has his men pull guns on Chris thinking he is playing him for a fool. Chris denies it, and asks if his offer to help pull the heist in return for the super bills is still on the table. Gonzalo stands down and agrees to the terms.
Danny and Chris are to block the armored van. They pull in front of it, and the van doesn’t stop, causing theirs to flip. Gonzalo and his men, their faces taped up to prevent identification, blow open the van doors and slaughter the guards. In the back is a Jackson Pollock painting which they take out of the frame. Police and SWAT teams show up and the two sides engage in the firefight. Gonzalo’s men are killed one by one and Gonzalo takes a bullet in the neck. Danny and Chris jump in the back of Gonzalo’s truck and they race back to Gonzalo’s compound.
There, they think Gonzalo is dead, and Chris tells Danny to grab their ID’s while he rolls up the Jackson Pollock painting. Gonzalo grabs Danny and orders to be taken to the hospital. Police surround the compound as they drive off. Only a moment later however, Gonzalo dies so they take their ID’s back and dump his body out of the van.
Andy heads back to the ship with a duffel bag of cocaine.
The ship is getting ready to leave, and Chris has little time to get back. Using Igor in the engine room and Tarik, to stall several shipping containers, Chris and Danny barely get in on time, and drive the van into the container. Once placed back on the ship, they wipe the van down of blood and fingerprints, and get the money off the van, and place it in the work shop crawl space. Captain Camp inspects the trailers, but finds nothing but the van and the painting which they think is a “dirty tarp.”
Chris confronts Andy and starts to beat him up for getting him and his family in this mess. Chris finds out that he bought more drugs with the money and is livid. But Andy says he had no choice and lets Chris hear the voicemail of Briggs threatening harm against Chris’ sons. Realizing he is telling the truth, Chris apologizes and they collect the drugs, hiding them along with the money.
Sebastian calls Chris and finds out about the drugs. Chris says he is just going to dump the drugs overboard. Sebastian strongly advises against that.
We finally see why Sebastian needed the drugs so badly. He apparently took out a loan with Church to keep his construction business afloat and his money is due. Church threatens to kill him if he doesn’t pay soon.
Sebastian begins to crack from the stress, and goes to a bar and breaks his sobriety. Briggs talks to him, and Sebastian says he wants him to pay Kate a visit. No violence, just a warning not to dump the drugs.
Back on the boat, Chris is removing salt from a large bag and dissolving it in water, testing to see how long it takes.
Kate is at her job with another coworker. The coworker leaves, just as Briggs shows up and plows his car through the shop. He smashes Kate’s head into a mirror and warns her to tell Chris not to dump the drugs. Kate hits him with a piece of wood and runs out as Sebastian shows up with her kids. Sebastian waves Briggs off, and tries to convince Kate to come with him. Kate can tell he has been drinking and doesn’t trust him so she takes her boys and drives home in her own car.
Kate calls Chris and tells him the warning. Chris talks to Andy and asks if he talked to Briggs but Andy denies it. Chris asks where he got the drugs and Andy mentions Rubin. Chris puts the pieces together; Sebastian is behind it.
Kate has her coworker friend come over while she grabs their things from Sebastian. Sebastian confronts her, obviously still drunk and convinces her to hug him. Then he apparently makes a pass at her, and Kate rushes into the bathroom and locks it. Kate tries to call Chris, but Sebastian bashes the door down, causing Kate to fall and hit her head hard. She is apparently dead. Her phone rings. Chris is on the line. Sebastian looks down in shock of what he has done.
Chris calls Sebastian. He knows that Briggs works for him and the drugs were for him. Chris berates him as he trusted his family with him and warns he is coming for him.
Sebastian calls Captain Camp and tells him that Chris is running contraband and if he gets it, he’ll give him Chris’ share. Camp agrees but warns if Chris won’t give it up; he’ll just call Customs and have it raided.
Captain Camp interrogates Chris to give up the stuff but he is unwilling. Camp calls in Customs and they raid the boat, but don’t find the drugs or money, and have no choice to let Chris go.
Chris breaks into Captain Camp’s office and steals his keys. He makes a copy set in the workshop.
Sebastian starts to wrap Kate in plastic to dump the body. Her hand twitches. She is still alive.
Andy gets off the boat with his bag. Briggs is waiting for him and chases him down.
Chris gets off the boat. Briggs drives up with Andy in the backseat. When he threatens Andy, Chris breaks the driver’s window and drags Briggs out and starts beating him. Andy runs off at Chris’ orders and Briggs aims a gun at Chris’ head. Chris says they won’t get their drugs if he’s dead. They take him with them to collect.
Chris takes them to a house, claiming a friend has let him stash them there. It is a house Chris has done security on. He goes into the garage and pulls out a cleaning vacuum from the trunk of the car. It is here we realize it is the house of Captain Camp. He opens it up and pulls out the bricks of cocaine. Briggs is satisfied with what he sees. Chris claims to need to use the bathroom and steals Camp’s car and gets out of the house. Camp comes downstairs wondering why Briggs is in his house as the police arrive. Briggs and his friends are arrested as is Camp, as the drugs were in his house. Camp proclaims his innocence as he stuffed into a squad car.
Sebastian wraps up Kate’s body and takes it to his construction site. He dumps her in a spot about to be filled with concrete.
Chris calls home and finds out Kate went to see Sebastian. He first goes to his house. Then he goes to Sebastian’s apartment, and finally his business.
Sebastian orders the cement to be poured where Kate’s body is first.
Chris busts into Sebastian’s office and beats him with an inch of his life. Chris is heartbroken that his best friend, a man he considered to be like a brother and trusted with his family, had been betraying him all this time. Chris asks about Kate. Sebastian says she is “gone.”
Chris leaves the office and tries to dial Kate. He starts to hear a cell phone as to several construction people at the cement site. He continues to call it and realizes what is wrong. He races to stop the cement truck and busts open the foundation to find Kate barely alive. Chris orders someone to call 911, while Sebastian is nearby, sitting defeated, knowing his life is over.
Kate wakes up in a hospital. Chris is nearby telling her everything is okay.
Danny and Tarik wait in a boat in the middle of the ocean. We see that Chris dumped the money in the water, with timed packets of salt. When they finally dissolve, the money floats up to the ocean surface. Tarik and Danny whoop cheers at the sight of the money.
We see Sebastian now in prison. He sees Chris’ dad and goes to him, looking for a friend. Chris’ dad looks at him in disdain since he sold out the family. He gives another inmate a knowing look and leaves. Sebastian calls out to him but is blocked by several inmates. Though it is not shown, it is implied that Sebastian is killed.
We see Andy at a car auction buying the van they transported at a very cheap price.
Chris and Danny deliver the super bills to Church who agrees to a price of 3 million. Church asks Chris is he heard about the Jackson Pollock heist in Panama. The painting is worth 140 million which is at least 20 million on the black market. Chris smiles, and denies knowing anything.
Andy shows up with the van. They look in the back to see the painting still there. Chris laughs in joy realizing between the painting and the super bills, the five of them (Chris, Igor, Andy, Danny, and Tarik) will have a hefty windfall to split.
The film ends with the Farrady family in a new beachside home. Chris is now happily and officially retired from the life and Andy is seen playing soccer with his nephews.