Updated: Apr 9
Throw me an action film any-day of the week. I contrived myself to engage in this film to challenge my own perceptions of Mark Wahlberg. I treasure his solicitous satire roles in movies like 'The Intern' and 'Ted', but over the years I've downgraded his gangster personas merely due to the directors over the top phallocentric emphasis. Hoping for some classic Netflix eye ball induced punches, and high definition camera sweeps, I circled into the rampage.
A film adaptation of Wonderland, based on Robert B. Parker's character Spenser, the movie starts with singer Post Malone swinging at Mark in a Boston prison lunch hall. I found the fighting sequences surprisingly realistic at the start, which I believe is mainly down to the clean cut edits from Mike Sale. The post production sound effects and techno music were the highlights for me, giving the story some power behind the punches. Alan Arkin, playing Henry, offered the cast his wisdom of acting, and gave a sense of unity that drove the story. Winston Duke played Hawk earnestly, and he was one of the only characters I emphasised with emotionally towards the story.
The whole film resolves around a childish competition of testosterone. I disliked most of the script, with cringing lines like 'I'm gunna blow this shit open' and indicative large trucks driven for power trips. I found the narrative was too predictable, and the audience could easily assume the 'bad cop' scenario unfolding as we witness Mark chasing the tails. I thought women were expressed skeptically from every angle, with Mark avoiding his 'crazy' girlfriend Iliza Shlesinger, as she waited patiently for him to return from prison. Iliza role in the film is to shelter the men, providing a home for them to recite, but mostly her character is seen as an 'annoyance' to the men. Peter Burg took no note in how to represent women in this film other than for pleasure for the mans eye.
In pains me to say that Wahlberg, minus his impressive efforts for his physic for the film, stays low in the table for toughest man on my list. I appreciated the American patriarchy in the movie and the directors efforts to bring in new faces like Post Malone to the screen. Nevertheless, the narrative and depth in which the characters are explored lacked as much as a deflating balloon towards the end. As boring scales go, if it wasn't for the Foley artists creating the intense sound effects, I would have been drifting off into my spaghetti bolognese.