Spenser Confidential Review: Charming Cast, Decent Plot

Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg reunites for a fifth time for the action comedy film, Spenser Confidential.

The film has been streaming on Netflix since March 6, 2020 but should you watch it or skip it? Read on this review to find out.

Charming Cast

Loosely based on Robert B. Parker’s Spenser character and Ace Atkins’ novel Wonderland, Spenser Confidential follows ex-cop/ex-con Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) along with fellow ex-con Hawk (Winston Duke) as they unravel a criminal conspiracy involving dirty cops in Boston.

Honestly, I had no idea how this new duo would fair against some of the fairly established crime-fighting duos in film like Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s Bad Boys and Mel Gibson and Danny Glover’s Lethal Weapon among others. And while they are not as good as those previously mentioned, they sure have a place in the genre.

Wahlberg with his grit and Duke with his youthful free-spirited self, the two leads seemed to be in sync with one another and are quite charming, if I may say so. Add to that the convincing old-guy-you-can-run-to performance of Alan Arkin as Henry Cimoli and Iliza Shlesinger’s Cissy Davis providing a much-needed comic relief, and you have a pleasurable piece of entertainment.

Oh, and music star Post Malone and UFC star Donald Cerrone has some fairly important cameo, so that’s added bonus.

Decent Plot

There’s almost always a dirty cop/s conspiracy play in movies of this genre and it sure is the same thing with Spenser Confidential. Well, there are still some things to like about its plot. I, for one, liked the fact that it was straight-forward. Not too many mysteries and tying-up stories-together happening.

Normally, when that’s the case, the film becomes either uninteresting or predictable. That is still true for Spenser Confidential but somehow, I felt that dullness and predictability, in this rare occasion, work. See, this isn’t your murder mystery a la Knives Out or larger-than-life conspiracy movie. No, it’s not like those at all. It’s just a straight up action comedy film and consequently the straightforward storytelling just works.

I just don’t feel like there’s a point in dissecting the film as you watch it. It’s just not that kind of movie. For all I care, Spenser Confidential is just pure fun and entertainment. And I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Skip or Watch?

Spenser Confidential is certainly NOT up there with some of the best buddy-cop films of all time but it sure finds its place in the genre even with its exceedingly familiar police conspiracy plot. That said, it’s still an entertaining film and there’s not a lot of new entertaining films out there with this coronavirus thing happening.

So, if you’re looking for a new film that knows a thing or two on how to throw a punch, Spenser Confidential is one you should consider on your list.


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