Those looking for an entertaining film during self-quarantine should consider the Mark Wahlberg and Netflix vehicle, “Spenser Confidential.”

Spenser, a former Boston police officer released from prison, partners with his new roommate, Hawk. When a ring of dirty cops and drug traffickers get involved in murders in the city, Spenser and Hawk attempt to bring due justice.

The film also stars Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, Iliza Shlesinger, Bokeem Woodbine and Austin Post (AKA musician “Post Malone”). The film is directed by frequent Wahlberg collaborator Peter Berg.


“Spenser Confidential” is an uneven but surprisingly enjoyable action-comedy flick to enjoy at home. Lifted by a game cast and smooth pacing, the film works more often than not.

It benefits greatly from Wahlberg’s charm. Most of the time he’s able to elevate the material and come off as inherently likable. You’re invested enough in his character’s plight.

Wahlberg and Duke share some engaging chemistry. As two individuals with different personalities, their banter often is entertaining. While their relationship is disappointingly underdeveloped, when they share the screen, it’s a good time.

I enjoyed the performances, minus one supporting actress who was laughably over-the-top. Woodbine is a surprisingly formidable addition to the fold. I enjoyed Woodbine and Wahlberg’s back-and-forth.

Berg has a particular directing style that’s fun to watch. The action and fight scenes are shot in an energetic manner. While there are occasions where there are too many cuts and coverage shots, there’s an undeniable energy that he brings.

The biggest issue is the inconsistent tone. Some plot points are rather dark and violent. Other scenes are airy and inconsequential. The film flips between these too often for its own good. I found the tonal whiplash to be baffling. I wish that the filmmakers stuck to a particular tone a bit more.

The film is certainly predictable in spurts, but the engaging performances and fun energy kept me invested. The film’s not reinventing the wheel. It’s just a mindless good time featuring likable and talented performers.

While many people are staying at home and not going to the theater, there’s certainly good stuff to find on streaming. I had a fun time with “Spenser Confidential,” obvious flaws and all. It should please most casual audiences, for better or worse.

I give the film 3.25 stars out of 5. “Spenser Confidential” is rated R and runs for 1 hour and 51 minutes. It’s streaming on Netflix.

Ellis is a freelance writer.