Spenser Confidential (2020)
May 19, 2020 6:30 AM - Subscribe

When two Boston police officers are murdered, ex-cop Spenser teams up with his no-nonsense roommate, Hawk, to take down criminals. Staring Mark Wahlberg and Winston Duke, available via Netflix

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: Hawk (Winston Duke), a brash, no-nonsense MMA fighter ... 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.
posted by jazon (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
While the movie is getting lots of negative reviews, I really enjoyed it as a throw-back and re-imagining of the 1980s Spenser: For Hire. It's light and breezy, entertaining without being heavy but still hits the mark for an entertaining evening. It's perfect for Netflix - enjoyable as a one-and-done, but also set up the possibility for a sequel.
posted by jazon at 6:35 AM on May 19, 2020

Never watched the original series, but Mrs. Mosley and I made a tradition early in our marriage of listening to the audiobooks on car trips. For us, it's Joe Mantegna or nobody.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:54 AM on May 19, 2020

I didn't particularly like this movie on its own terms, but in terms of how it completely butchers the Spenser character, I'm still reeling — and I saw this months ago.
posted by fleacircus at 8:00 AM on May 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I find Wahlberg annoying but I'm tempted to watch this to see Winston Duke's take on Hawk.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:50 AM on May 19, 2020

I've read the first 15 or so Spenser novels. I wanna see Winston Duke's Hawk, and I'm kinda excited for Iliza Shlesinger's bad Boston accent.
posted by hanov3r at 1:25 PM on May 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

I think Winston Duke would be great, but I like Spenser too much for this. I think I would be upset at how they've changed his character. I've read some of those books a dozen times.
posted by ceejaytee at 1:41 PM on May 19, 2020

While I'm fairly "meh"-to-middling about the books, a lot of the changes to the characters sit, as a whole, somewhere between "aggravating" and "pointless."

This very much seems like they either already had a "I tried to get out but they pulled me back in/gotta get some payback" script that they hung the "Spenser" name on for IP option reasons or Peter Berg (director) and/or Wahlberg and/or the screenwriters (one of whom, disappointingly, is Brian Helgeland, from LA Confidential and Blood Work) just . . . didn't much bother to think about the characters.

(Spoilery of sorts, for fans of the books.)

I mean, a big part of the whole . . . schtick of Spenser is that he & Hawk are both more urbane and sophisticated than one would think, and the tension that exists between them because Hawk is far more amoral than Spenser. (Or at least he has a significantly different moral code than Spenser, thanks to race+class.) Get rid of that urbanity and that tension, *shrug* what's the point of making this a "Spenser" movie?

AND ALSO, IIRC Hawk and Spenser are the same age, more or less, and Hawk is definitely portrayed as tougher and smarter than Spenser in a lot of ways. So to turn this into "white man semi-mentors the black man" is, uh, problematic, to say the least.

End result is a fairly average crime thriller that definitely feels "been there, done that."
posted by soundguy99 at 7:39 AM on May 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

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