Recommendation: Mostly boring, overlong, and pretty cheesy; best skip this one. 3/10
IMDB Synopsis: When two Boston police officers are murdered, ex-cop Spenser teams up with his no-nonsense roommate, Hawk, to take down criminals.
Spenser Confidential—the latest team up of action star Mark Wahlberg and action director Peter Berg—is billed a thrill ride action movie, helmed by two industry heavyweights. Unfortunately for Netflix, the duo’s chemistry has been producing diminishing returns for quite a while and trip to the well only reaps minimal rewards for the viewer. With a generic plot, boring action choreography, and dialogue bordering on terrible, Spenser Confidential is the type of forgettable action vehicle that is overlong and boring, yet doesn’t crack the “it’s so bad it’s good” territory. Clearly intended as a potential franchise, Spenser Confidential isn’t intended for anyone, so when the sequel is inevitably green lit by Netflix, let’s hope they Berg duo has some more things figured out.
Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) is just trying to start over. An ex-cop in Massachusetts who was just released from prison for assaulting a dirty police captain. Sporting a mild mannered attitude and upstanding morals, Spenser wants to drive big rigs and move west. But as a police captain is brutally executed and another slain cop blamed for the murder, Spenser can’t leave well enough alone. Armed with his instincts as a streetwise cop, his moral code, and an aspiring MMA fighter named Hawk (Winston Duke), he sets out to take matters into his own hands.
In predictable fashion, the story spirals into a bigger plot than Spenser could imagine with Director Berg crafting an overly convoluted plot involving dirty cops, a machete wielding cartel, the FBI, and greedy investors. As Spenser and Hawk fight their way through the city and closer to the truth, the film shifts tonally a number of times, yet doesn’t stick to its guns. Is it a buddy comedy? Dramatic revenge story? Slick action film? It seems to take the best parts of other franchises and water them down so much they are too easily consumed and forgotten.
By film’s end there are a few highlights but far too many groan-worthy moments. Spenser Confidential is another in a long line of recent Mark Wahlberg misses, where Boston’s favorite son is the only one taking the role seriously.
MVP: Winston Duke as Hawk, the MMA fighter with a heart of gold. His brand of lazy yet humorous and sincere approach brings a level of personal touch that’s missing in most of the film.
Highlights: Aforementioned Winston Duke. Wahlberg driving a big rig named Black Betty. Alan Alda as a no nonsense landlord.
Director: Peter Berg
Studio: Netflix // Original release date: March 6, 2020