SPENSER CONFIDENTIAL (NETFLIX) (2020)
SYNOPSIS: When two Boston Police officers are murdered, ex-cop Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) teams up with his no-nonsense roommate, Hawk (Winston Duke), to take down criminals in this action-comedy.
After Adam Sandler, Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Ben Affleck, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg is the latest A-list Hollywood actor to star in a Netflix production.
Wahlberg joined his frequent collaborator, director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day) in this revival of a 1980’s television character, private detective Spenser created by the late novelist, Robert B. Parker. In simpler terms, it’s not something as exciting as their previous collaborations.
Former Boston police officer Spenser (Wahlberg) has just got out of jail for assaulting his officer, John Boylan five years ago. Now all Spenser wants is a new life as a truck driver in Arizona. For the time being, he is living with his ex-boxing coach, Henry (Alan Arkin) and reluctantly, Henry’s new student, Hawk (Winston Duke from Black Panther) as his roommate. But before long, Boylan is found brutally killed and Spenser finds himself unofficially back in the game- to find out who murdered Boylan and why another innocent cop is killed as well.
Spenser Confidential fares liked a cheap TV pilot something Wahlberg and Berg probably took on to kill time before their next big-screen venture. Although co-written by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River), Spenser Confidential lacks originality or any form of witty twist. It’s strictly a predictable investigative drama peppered occasionally by some over-the-top bloody brawling by Wahlberg’s character.
Running close to two hours, Spenser Confidential never feels liked a buddy-cop comedy though it is no fault of Winston. Mark Wahlberg is clearly the star of this. However, the character of Spenser is no Jack Reacher. He seems destined to be beaten to a pulp for every piece of new lead retrieved and the most entertaining of all ironically happened to be Spenser’s no-nonsense ex-wife, Cissy (Illiza Shlesinger). Alan Arkin is fine, can’t really expect an 85-year-old to do much in an actioner do you? Bokeem Woodbine stars as Spenser’s ex-colleague, Driscoll, the kind of sleazeball you smell before you even finished half the flick.
There is in fact a sequel teased in the end. Do we honestly need more adventures of Spenser? More chances for him to right the wrongs? Perhaps Wahlberg and Berg deserve a second chance to churn out something better. But for now, there’s nothing spectacular or confidential to rave about Spenser Confidential.
Review by Linus Tee