By Adam Ray Palmer
With very little to do each night now, and with the release of a new mark Wahlberg flick on Netflix, basically it’s as simple as putting two and two together.
When it comes to Wahlberg, I feel he is an actor that has a good film in every three pictures. He is brilliant, but his movies seem to be hit and miss in my view. With Spenser Confidential, I had high hopes…
The movie begins with a flashback. Detective Spenser (Wahlberg) arrives with his partner Driscoll to the home of Captain John Boylan. While questioning his captain about some tape footage of a murder that was leaked, the confrontation gets heated. Spenser proceeds to beat Boylan senseless and is subsequently sent to prison. Enter Post Malone, no joke. The rapper has turned to acting with his debut role here where he just ends up getting his ass kicked by Mark – it pays the bills, I guess!
We skip five years, and Spenser is out. He goes home to his friend Henry Cimoli (Alan Arkin) and finds a new lodger with him, Hawk (Winston Duke). As Spenser tries to get to grips with his new life, trouble is looming around the corner. Overnight, both his former captain and a good cop Terrence Graham (Brandon Scales) are both murdered. Their deaths are connected, but the media paints a picture of Terrence being the murderer and then committing suicide. Spenser thinks there’s more to this.
What ensues is a cat and mouse chase between right and wrong. Spenser shouldn’t be getting involved, but his copper background won’t let go. He investigates with his new friend Hawk alongside the help of his crazy ex-girlfriend Cissy (Iliza Shlesinger). What they uncover is something a lot more sinister, and it’s time for Spenser to clear his murky past and be the hero.
That final sentence in the above paragraph is key. It sounds quite ridiculous and superhero-esque right? Well weirdly, that’s the stance this movie seems to have. I really struggled to fully get on board with Spenser Confidential. Breaking it down, I am a fan of Wahlberg, Duke and Arkin. In addition, one step further, I am a big fan of Brian Helgeland who co-wrote this script. Brian is also the brain behind the brilliant Tom Hardy film, Legend. So why didn’t all these components come together? For me, there’s a sole reason.
Spenser Confidential simply doesn’t know what it wants to be – it’s so messy. You have Winston Duke who is very comedic, and you have Wahlberg who is the straight man, but of course can lend himself to the humour. But on the contrary, the narrative also has an underbelly of drama and darkness, but they just don’t wash together.
If the film had chosen a solid path when it comes to genre, I would dig it more. The quips are too lazy to be a great comedy like The Other Guys, but on the same spin, due to the dodgy jesting, the dramatic sequences lose their edginess. I feel this should have been a much more of a complete movie. But I will say this, the ending is very much geared for a sequel, and perhaps they will get that instalment back on the right path.
Cineroom’s rating: 2.5 Stars
Spenser Confidential is out now on Netflix worldwide – certificate 15