Spenser Confidential Review
An Action Comedy That Lacks Action And Comedy
By Jarred Kiel
Mark Wahlberg (“ Ted”, “ Transformers The Last Knight “) stars as disgraced ex-cop Spenser, who wants to leave his previous life in Boston behind and start a new one as a Truck Driver in Arizona. The more he tries to distance himself, the more trouble he gets in.
With all-star talent both in front and behind the camera, I was very dissatisfied with the results. Director Peter Berg (“Mile 22”, “Lone Survivor”) has a good track record when it comes to Action films that has heart flowing through them, but this one felt like it was a second thought that accidentally came to fruition.
Wahlberg seems like he is sleepwalking through this film as the rest of the cast feels like they’re supposed to be in different movies. Oscar Winner Alan Arkin (“ Argo”, “Little Miss Sunshine”) and rising star Winston Duke (“ Us “, “Black Panther”) do what they can with their characters Henry and Hawk, but they just felt like they were there for a quick paycheck.
The worse character choices by far were Iliza Shlesinger (“Instant Family”) and Austin Post (Post Malone) as Spenser’s ex-girlfriend Cissy and Aryan gang member Squeeb. Both characters were not needed in the film, and they felt cartoonish. Even Shlesinger said in an interview that she modeled her Boston accent after Peter Griffin from ‘Family Guy.’ Post was supposed to be a tough guy but there wasn’t any tension built before his and Wahlberg’s fight in the beginning of the film. You just knew Wahlberg was going to win.
Oscar winner Brian Helgeland (“L.A. Confidential”, “River”) and first-time feature write Sean O’Keefe wrote the script that left more to be desired. Helgeland has such a rich background in noir-type films that it felt like he just took it easy on the audience instead of challenging the status quo. I don’t want to spoil anything, but you can pinpoint who’s dirty within the first 10 minutes of the film.
What I did like about this film was the beautiful town of Boston. I think Boston is one of the most beautiful cities to film in because of how real everything feels. The cinematography by Tobias Schliessler (“ Beauty and the Beast “, “A Wrinkle in Time”) is fantastic, but the editing had a lot of issues. The fight scenes were boring since there were so many cuts throughout.
I didn’t watch the tv show or read the books, but I have heard that the book has a completely different feel to it compared to what was on screen. Reading the book’s synopsis makes me want to continue with the novel series instead of hoping for another Netflix film.
This was the fifth film in the last seven years between Berg and Wahlberg, and they seem to be in a rut. Here’s to hoping we get to see them at the top of their game next time.
Originally published at https://www.ocmoviereviews.com on March 28, 2020.