The film – the fifth Wahlberg movie from director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon) – has Wahlberg playing an ex-cop who comes out of prison with a plan to leave Boston behind. Before he gets a chance to leave, he’s drawn into helping his former boxing coach (Alan Arkin) with an MMA amateur (Duke). When some of Spenser’s former colleagues turn up dead, he gets his friends and ex-girlfriend (Iliza Shlesinger) to help.
Wahlberg suits the buddy formula (The Other Guys, Two Guns, Pain & Gain) and his films with Berg have arguably been solid; we dug both Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. This looks to be an easy watch, and the R-rated allowance by Netflix should make for some welcome old-school grittiness amidst the odd-couple humour and generic corruption plot points.
If the name Spenser sounds familiar to some, that’s because he’s a fictional character that originated in a series of novels by Robert B. Parker and later continued with author Ace Atkins. A television series titled Spenser: For Hire ran for three seasons in the ’80s with Robert Urich in the lead role. Urich reprised the role in four Lifetime movies in the ’90s and Joe Mantegna took on the character in three TV movies on the A&E cable network in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Spenser Confidential, also starring Bokeem Woodbine and Marc Maron, hits Netflix on March 6.
Official synopsis for Spenser Confidential:
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. From director Peter Berg, SPENSER CONFIDENTIAL is an action-comedy co-starring Bokeem Woodbine, Marc Maron and Austin Post. Inspired by Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland, a best-selling novel by Ace Atkins.