Netflix brings the action in ‘Spenser Confidential’

Given the amount of original content that Netflix puts out on a regular basis, it can be hard to figure out what is worth watching and what isn’t.
For some people, the idea of binging a whole show that they may not end up liking can seem like a waste of time, and lucky for those people, Netflix has continued to crank out a plethora of different movies in every imaginable genre.
After the marginal success of “6 Underground,” Netflix has followed up with another action-packed movie that feels like it has been pulled right out of the ‘80s.
“Spenser Confidential” stars Mark Wahlberg as Spenser, an ex-Boston police officer who was recently released from prison. He was incarcerated for beating the Boston police captain outside his home for allegedly covering up a young woman’s murder and abusing his wife.
None of this information came to light, however, and Spenser was forced to serve a five-year sentence. On the day he is released, the captain is found dead, and Spenser takes it upon himself to figure out exactly what happened to him and why in order to clear the name of the young police officer accused of killing him.
While the action cinematography leaves much to be desired, there are still plenty of standout set pieces that give this movie its fair share of brutal moments. The way some of these scenes were filmed is reminiscent of late 2000s action when everyone and their brother was trying to recreate the choppy and shaky camera work made famous in “The Bourne Identity.”
More recently, action scenes have followed a more traditional long take style that puts choreography and skill of the stunt men and women in the forefront, and movies like those in the “John Wick” series have proved that this formula works.
The problem is that it is much easier and more cost-effective to shoot a choppy action scene than a more fluid one, so I can understand why the filmmakers may have elected to shoot the fights like they did.
That being said, “Spenser Confidential” finds a decent balance between the two styles that works well for the tone the film is trying to set.
Wahlberg was a bit hit-or-miss in his performance throughout the film. This is surprising, considering he has proven himself to be a very capable dramatic actor in movies like “The Departed,” but also a hilarious comedic actor in “The Other Guys.”
While he was totally believable interacting in fight scenes or more comedic portions of the movie, any time he was trying to get dramatic, it really felt like he was phoning it in.
It could be the quality of the writing or maybe he was just having a bad day, but either way it’s not something that was super distracting, but noticeable nonetheless. Alan Arkin was fantastic as always.
He truly was born to play the grizzled old man who is tired of what everyone else is doing, and he plays that part beautifully here. Another standout performance comes from Winston Duke, who is best known for portraying M’Baku in “Black Panther.” It was nice to see him branch out into a role completely different from what he is primarily known for, and he has a lot of potential to be a Hollywood mainstay.
Much to many people’s excitement, rapper Post Malone makes an appearance and does a great job in the scenes he was given. With the amount of facial tattoos that man has, it is surprising this is the first time he has portrayed a convict in a popular film, but there is little doubt that this will not be the last time he does so.
While “Spenser Confidential” is filled with cliches, cheesy lines and the occasional missed punch here and there, it still is worth watching, if not for the sole purpose of shutting your brain off for a little bit.
It’s not often that we see movies in which the protagonist is purely motivated to do good because it is simply the right thing to do, and that kind of clear-cut characterization was a breath of fresh air.
The ending of the movie left it open to a possible sequel, so time will tell if that comes to fruition.
In the meantime, “Spenser Confidential” deserves to be added to your watch list immediately. You will not be disappointed.

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