Spenser: Confidential


Viewed – 23 March 2021 Netflix

An ex-cop who has been serving time in prison gets paroled and stumbles upon a mystery revolving around the murder of a corrupt Police Captain. Although wanting to lead a quiet life the ex-cop chooses to begin an investigation into the Police department he was once a part of.

Mark Wahlberg has always been a likeable presence and he’s no different here. However this has a bit of a strange tone throughout, part gritty thriller, part Beverly Hills Cop style comedy. Yes, Wahlberg is adept at both genres but here they don’t mesh together all that well. Once again teaming up with Director Peter Berg (Patriot’s Day, Deepwater Horizon) this is a fairly typical knock-about thriller with little to make it stand out. Even the main villain I figured out as soon as they appeared.

Support from Winston Duke (Black Panther) and screen veteran Alan Arkin along with Wahlberg, make for a fun trio, but an overly convoluted script isn’t funny enough, or thrilling enough to deliver on any potential. This overall was by the numbers and rather forgettable. You get the impression this might be the start of a franchise involving Wahlberg’s character – but on this evidence it’d be better off as a short run tv show.

Verdict: Poor

Argo


Viewed – 02 March 2013  Pay-per-view

Considering all the attention this has got recently, nabbing the coveted Best Picture award at this year’s Academy Awards, I was thirsty to see if it lived up to the hype.  Ben Affleck stars and directs the true story of a CIA agent charged with the job of bringing home a group of American diplomats from Iran in 1980 following a political uprising.  As it’s near impossible to step foot in the country, Affleck comes up with the idea of posing as a film maker, and smuggling the diplomats out as part of his film crew.

Argo Pic

Co-starring Alan Arkin and John Goodman as a couple of Hollywood effects guys, this unusual concept proved thoroughly gripping, helped immeasurably by a topical backdrop of violence and conflict, which is still relevant today.  The seventies / early eighties setting is done brilliantly, the movie boasting an very authentic look, even down to the grainy photography, and all the costumes, cars, locations etc transported me to the period.  Affleck is very good as the CIA agent who put a very bizarre plan into action, and carries the film probably better than he’s done in years.  It’s also not hard to see why this was right up the awards panel’s street – painting America / Canada and even Hollywood in a favorable light.

Despite some good lines I felt Alan Arkin was disappointing, considering his nomination, although (a very out of shape) Goodman as ever is enjoyable despite a limited role.  This remains Affleck’s movie however and his directing is accomplished, gritty but still palatable despite the subject.  The story is a little simplistic when all is said and done, but didn’t stop the movie being tense and thrilling at times, and with a good pace, I had a very good time.

Verdict:  4 /5