Spenser Confidential movie poster
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Spenser Confidential
Spenser Confidential movie poster

Spenser Confidential Movie Review

Mark Wahlberg has a unique talent: the ability to straddle the line between generic fun and mundane mediocrity in just about every movie, an impressive feat when you think about it. That’s probably why Wahlberg has mass appeal--occasionally he hits it out of the ballpark, and sometimes he whiffs so badly you feel the breeze from a mile away--but for the most part you know what you’re going to get.

Spenser Confidential, his latest collaboration with director Peter Berg, straddles the line closer than most. Fun in parts yet utterly forgettable overall, this Netflix-produced action-comedy does what it was designed to do--cater to the algorithm:

  1. Mark Wahlberg beating people up, and getting beaten up by other people… check
  2. Mark Wahlberg making sarcastic comments… check
  3. Mark Wahlberg taking down generic bad guys… check
  4. Mark Wahlberg working with Peter Berg… check

Netflix, known for its quantity more than its quality, delivers a relative crowd pleaser in Spenser Confidential, an inoffensive action flick that begins to eke its way out of your consciousness as soon as the credits roll. Hell, one could argue each scene grabs your attention on such a superficial level that by the time the next scene has started, the previous one is already beginning to vanish from thought.

In the end, no criticism will really make a dent on a film like this: it has a few funny moments and some of the action is amusing, but Spenser Confidential feels like a big-budgeted movie made for the small screen. Berg and Wahlberg have made some decent movies together, but this one seems pulled together from the scrap bin of disregarded ideas. The plot is so inanely bland that the action would have had to be absolutely stellar to make up for it, and that’s not the case here. Wahlberg is given a role that doesn’t even remotely challenge him, Berg proves yet again he’s a capable director--but only with the right material--and the action, while not terrible, is far from spectacular.

For a movie that costs nothing extra to watch, released during the coronavirus quarantine, Spenser Confidential adequately checks the right boxes. That doesn’t make it good.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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