‘Spenser Confidential’ Film Review – THN

A review of the Netflix movie, ‘Spenser Confidential.’

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Mark Wahlberg joins the Netflix game with Boston set detective story Spenser Confidential, reteaming with his Lone Survivor/Patriots Day/Deepwater Horizon/Mile 22 director Peter Berg. 

The ‘Berg partnership has been a strange mixed bag. Starting out with a series of well-made docu-dramas of real-life disasters, the last film the pair made was Mile 22: a loud, violent, incoherent action movie that failed to kick off a franchise. It looks like they’re trying out the franchise game again with a new home at Netflix and an adaptation of the adventures of Robert B. Parker’s detective Spenser; a hot-headed former boxer, former cop turned private detective.

Spenser (Wahlberg) has spent five years in prison for beating up a police captain he suspected of being corrupt. Once out of prison, he sets about living a normal life and hitting the road. But when that same police captain is found dead the day after Spenser’s release, with an honest cop being put in the frame for it, Spenser feels compelled to seek out the truth. Teaming up with Hawk (Winston Duke), a promising fighter he’s helping to train, they set out to expose a level of corruption that goes way further than they could have imagined.

There’s a lot of other ingredients from different detective movies scattered about throughout Spenser Confidential. It being set in Boston and following a tale of corruption, there are elements of The Departed and The Town, while the buddy cop elements bring to mind the likes of 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon, with a little bit of the vigilante spirit of Jack Reacher thrown in for good measure. If collecting those films together sounds like a bit of a weird mish-mash, that’s because the film itself feels a bit of an odd mix in itself, never quite working as either a gritty mystery or a buddy cop movie.

Full review over at THN, originally published March 7th 2020.

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