Mark Wahlbeg Gets Sucked Into Boston’s Underworld in Netflix Thriller ‘Spenser Confidential’
Mark Wahlberg returns home to Boston for “Spenser Confidential,” a crime thriller that seems tailor-made for WWahlberg and Netflix. Here, Wahlberg does what he does best as a the title character, a disgraced police officer looking to right some wrongs, while knocking a few heads in along the way.
“Spenser Confidential” opens with a flashback to five years prior to show Spenser pummeling his commanding officer, Captain John Boylan (Michael Gaston), on the man’s own front lawn in front of his wife. In present day, Spenser is about to be released from prison. As a parting gift, a fellow inmate (Post Malone) and his Aryan Nation cronies attempt to beat him down, but they’re no a match for this fighting machine. Once on the outside, Spenser attempts to acclimate into civilian life, moving in with his mentor, MMA trainer Henry (Alan Arkin), in Southie, sharing a room with Henry’s newest protégé, Hawk (Winston Duke). He talks about moving to Arizona to work as a trucker, but it’s obvious to anyone that he’s a Bostonian through and through.
Almost as soon as Spenser changes out of prison jumpsuit is Boylan murdered execution-style. Although he has an albi, he can’t help but be sucked into the case, especially after discovering that Terrence Graham (Brandon Scales), a cop whom he remembers as being an upstanding guy, is being pinned to the murder, having turned up dead the next morning as the result of an alleged murder-suicide. Spenser may not have a badge anymore, but it’s in his DNA to serve and protect, and he’s even more driven to uncover the truth after meeting Graham’s grief-stricken widow, Leticia (Hope Olaide Wilson), and her fatherless little boy.
Wahlberg has the time of his life as Spenser takes on a variety of underworld figures, including gang members, crooked cops, and a bald Irishman known as Tracksuit Charlie (James DuMont). New agey-tough guy Hawk helps balance Spenser out, and Cissy (Iliza Shlesinger), his former girlfriend whom he still has the hots for, keeps him on his toes. Along with Arkin’s cantankerous old man, she provides much comic relief. When he’s not trying to make Boston a safer place, Spenser can be found learning how to drive a semi-truck, a skill that comes in handy at a crucial moment.
“Spenser Confidential” is far from an original film, and it’s ridden with Boston clichés, including a scene in which “Sweet Caroline” is playing during a Red Sox game at an Irish pub right before Spenser gets into a fight with a bunch of bad cops. This film is the fifth collaboration between Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, and while it might not be the best one, it’s without a doubt the one they had the most fun making. At almost 50, Wahlberg shows no signs of slowing down as an action star, and true fans will not be disappointed. Even those who would not usually pay money to see one of the actor’s films in the theater will get a kick out of this guilty pleasure-thrill ride.
“Spenser Confidential” begins streaming March 6 on Netflix.