Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: Spenser Confidental

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Copyright: Netflix

Marky Mark may have slinked away from his Funky Bunch decades ago, but he’ll always have that movement behind him. Something to fall back on, a Plan B, if you will. I’d sure hope so, anyway, since Spenser Confidential shows clear signs that the man just isn’t up to it anymore. His acting career was always a bit of an oddity to me, leaping from comfy comedies with Ted and The Other Guys to the blockbuster Transformer series. Before these, though, he’d carved out a relatively wicked niche as a compelling, genuine article of excitement and freshness. Boogie Nights and The Departed prove that rather well, but, as I’m sure you’ll have noted, those days are long behind him.  

Spenser Confidential is another of those Netflix originals that I watched many months ago, but couldn’t bring myself to put pen to paper on the review. Or finger to keyboard, but that doesn’t sound as poetic, nor does it eat up my word count. This latest Wahlberg flick sees him attempt to shoulder his way into the leading man calibre of A-lister, an overpopulated market that will see far better, or far more interesting actors than him. I’d rather pop the latest Liam Neeson or Bruce Willis action on, not for quality, but because I know at the very least there won’t be a layer of smarmy self-entitlement.  

It shouldn’t surprise you that this element of faux prerogative is there, though. Wahlberg pairs himself up with director Peter Berg, one of their seemingly endless collaborations that follows the tried and tested three-act structure with horrid rigidity. Their previous action-packed spectacle, Mile 22, was miles away from hitting any sort of success, and it’s unsurprising to see that Spenser Confidential is rather worse for wear. Somehow coaxing Alan Arkin into this piece, presumably with the promise of lots of money for not doing very much, and you have the inevitable father figure who gets a few throwaway lines and a bit of pigeon-holed elderly-resident-in-distress moments. Surely he’s better than this, but I suppose the allure and fascination he has for working with Monk D is too much to resist. 

There’s nothing to Spenser Confidential that I can call at all charming or engaged. Post Malone makes an appearance, still looking like he smells of car fresheners and takeaway from the night before. Another rapper turned actor, hoping to play with the big boys before he’s had time to prove he can string a sentence together that isn’t coated in autotune and stumbling prose. He, like the film on the whole, fares very poorly indeed. I’d go as far to say Spenser Confidential was the worst action movie of the year, it certainly was when it first released in March. How time flies when we’re having fun, it’s nowhere close to being that bad anymore, though. Not if you’re seasoned with the other garbage Netflix has spat out. No, this is something far more dangerous than bad. It’s boring.