Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) -- an ex-cop better known for making trouble than solving it -- just got out of prison and is leaving Boston for good. But first, he gets roped into helping his old boxing coach and mentor, Henry (Alan Arkin), with a promising amateur. That's Hawk (Winston Duke), a brash, no-nonsense MMA fighter convinced he'll be a tougher opponent than Spenser ever was. When two of Spenser's former colleagues turn up murdered, he recruits Hawk and his foul-mouthed ex-girlfriend, Cissy (Iliza Shlesinger), to help him investigate and bring the culprits to justice.
It’s an action-comedy-mystery-thriller that manages to spectacularly fail at all the above, an algorithmic abomination that’s as coldly constructed as it is clumsily made. It’s actually surprising just how flat the whole thing is, given that Berg has experience with bigger budgeted films with a more ambitious scope, but there’s a deadening lack of spark to his direction here which he tries to hide with lively and recognisable soundtrack choices.
The movie tries to be a buddy cop comedy, awkwardly shoe-horning in Winston Duke as Hawk, an eccentric, animal-loving UFC fighter who’s randomly saddled with Spenser, but it never comes up with anything funny. The director Peter Berg has staged brawls and fights every 20 minutes or so to keep things lively, and he uses a bright colour palette and some kinetic camera work to keep audiences from falling asleep. This is Berg and Wahlberg’s fifth film together after Lone Survivor, Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon, and Mile 22, and it proves the pair should stick to films inspired by true stories. For some reason, it feels like a parody of a detective movie at times. Spenser Confidential’s bad and predictable aspects end up outweighing what could have been an interesting cop comedy.
Comedian Iliza Shlesinger plays Spenser’s love interest as if she’s trying to recreate Heidi Gardner’s SNL character Angel, Every Boxer’s Girlfriend. She does manage to deliver a funny Batman analogy, one of the only jokes that the movie pulls off, but points deducted for her randomly howling “Go Sox!” during a sex scene. Alan Arkin, Bokeem Woodbine, and Marc Maron all give solid supporting performances, but even they can’t make some of these groan-worthy lines work. And who can forget Mark Wahlberg who seems as if he's done this film as if he was in a deep slumber. There are times even Mark looks and acts exasperated almost as if he's giving a cue to the director that he's clearly had enough. This clearly isn't the vehicle Mark Wahlberg was looking for.
One can only imagine why the makers chose to dump this film on Netflix aka a digital release. This movie simply doesn't have it in it to rake in money or the audiences. Our take is to skip it, then stream it.
Rating- 1/5 Stars