Spenser Confidential

The ‘cop-buddy’ genre has seen a slew of imitators. ‘Lethal Weapon’, ‘Tango and Cash’ and others have traded in the mis-matched partnership of its characters with varying success. The wayward chemistry is meant to provide the action and comedy in equal measures. ‘Spenser Confidential’ is of the same ilk. Although offering little new, it’s an agreeable time-waster with law-makers you wouldn’t want saving you.

Newly released from prison, ex-cop Spenser (Mark Wahlberg) is eager to start a new life. He swiftly slides into old habits when he’s persuaded to help his old boxing coach and mentor Henry (Alan Arkin). Assisting in mentoring promising boxer Hawk (Winston Duke), Spenser’s life gets worse when two former colleagues are murdered. Recruiting Hawk and his waspish ex-girlfriend Cissy (Iliza Shlesinger) to solve the crimes, explosions and blazing guns become a regular feature of Spenser’s new life.

Directed by Peter Berg, ‘Spenser Confidential’ is a fun ride needing little brain cells to watch. Spenser is very much a genuine hero whose dogged determination in uncovering the truth wins him few friends. He has a strict moral code although can play loose when required. His relationships with Hawk, Henry and Cissy form an almost familial atmosphere within the usual gumshoe detective tropes.

Although Wahlberg hasn’t the greatest acting range, he’s a perfect fit for ‘Spenser Confidential’. In some ways he’s like James Garner in ‘The Rockford Files’, with his smarmy investigator happy to go into the criminal underbelly. Wahlberg’s co-stars are equally fine, effectively adding to the urban atmosphere. The script they’re given is fairly predictable but never outstays its welcome which is a bonus.

‘Spenser Confidential’ is a classic ‘watch on a rainy day’ type movie. It’s forgettable entertainment and easy viewing. It doesn’t disgrace the endless ‘cop-buddy’ genre which is sure to outlast us mere mortals where crime will always face its eternal judgement.

Rating out of 10: 6


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