Spenser Confidential Review: A Serviceable Cop Comedy

Spenser Confidential is the latest team-up between Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg, now available on Netflix. Your appreciation of it will depend more on the cast.
spenser confidential review

A new month, a new Netflix Original movie. This time, it’s Spenser Confidential, based on the detective novels by Robert B. Parker, which became a television series in the 80s. This specific film is actually an adaptation of Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland, one of the novels written by Ace Atkins, who penned the series after Parker died.

Spenser Confidental is the latest team-up between director Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg. They’ve previously worked together on Mile 22, Deepwater Horizon, Patriot’s Day, and Lone Survivor. And, surprisingly, it’s the most solid one in years.

Everything you need to know about the film is available in its Netflix synopsis:

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.


Does Spenser Confidential Cut It?

mark wahlberg and winston duke in spenser confidential

Starting with the script, there is nothing more to say than that it’s solid. It’s a simple cop story, with no surprises or new takes. It’s something we have seen a hundred times before, and we will be seeing it just as often in the future. It is just solid enough to not call it bad. The characters have just enough personality to be enjoyable or at least interesting, but the heart of the movie is the chemistry between the main actors: Wahlberg and Duke. The two make for an entertaining duo, and it’s fun to watch them joke amongst themselves and annoy each other.

If we take a look at the technical aspects, the movie chugs along once again without being anything more than solid. Peter Berg’s directing is the same as his last few movies, and the camera work by Tobias A. Schliessler is serviceable. There isn’t any particularly memorable shot, and the editing is the same as in every movie of this genre. It’s mostly solid, but still way too hectic in the action sequences. The sound design is fine, as is the score, which is fitting in every scene but miles away from being good or memorable.

Overall, this movie is not bad at all. It certainly is Wahlberg’s most solid vehicle in years. It is a typical action comedy, which can reach a wide audience and certainly should entertain everybody willing to be entertained. With its talented cast, there is nothing wrong with giving this movie a try.

Spenser Confidential stars Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke, Alan Arkin and Iliza Shlesinger. It’s Rated R, has a runtime of of 111 minutes and is available on Netflix since the 6th of March.

What do you guys think? Have you seen Spenser Confidential, are you planning to see it, or are you already over this partnership? Let’s discuss everything in the comments down below.

Disclaimer: Reviews reflect the opinions of the author and do not necessarily align with the The Illuminerdi as a whole.


Finn Schlote

Finn Schlote

Finn thinks and talks about movies all day, has a strong interest in how movies are made and he loves great cinematography. Comedy or horror, arthouse or big-budget blockbuster, Finn watches everything. He is a passionate Blu-Ray collector and is still waiting for a Jumper (2008) sequel.