Mark Wahlberg, ‘2 Guns’, and his career choices

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns

While at the cinema recently, I caught the trailer of 2 Guns (an action movie starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg), and realised suddenly that I haven’t wanted to watch any of Mark Wahlberg’s movies in a very long time.

In fact, the last movie which I really enjoyed him in was The Departed as the curse-spewing deputy, and that was in 2006. (And The Departed was good, but I still much prefer the subtlety and quiet suspense of Infernal Affairs, which it was remade from.) I did want to watch The Fighter, but I haven’t gotten around to it.

And it’s not because I don’t like Mark Wahlberg, because I do think he’s good-looking and a decent actor, but he just hasn’t been picking projects that interest me. I’m all for guy flicks and testosterone-driven movies — in fact, the next film of his that I am actually interested in watching is Transformers 4; but that’s just because I am a sucker for robots that turn into sleek cars, or sleek cars that turn into robots, which I mentioned before.

But most of the movies he chooses are just too… testosterone-driven? (Pain & Gain.) Revenge-y and trite, and I have had it with all the one-man-against-the-world-to-protect-his-family/values/something trope of movies? (Shooter, Contraband, Broken City.) Nonsensical? (The Happening.) Horrible, over-stylised, pretentious a movie adaptation of a video game? (Max Payne.)

I watched The Other Guys, because I thought it would be funny, but it wasn’t. And I did not watch Ted, because foul-mouthed humour for the sake of foul-mouthed humour isn’t my kind of comedy. (But who knows, I might change my mind about the last one, though not any time soon.)

I won’t be watching 2 Guns either, because: (a) really, what kind of title is 2 Guns? It sounds like some filler title that they decided to go with instead of naming the movie properly; (b) the plot about double-crossing undercover spies working as detective partners (and if that’s not the plot; well, that was the impression that I got from the trailer) doesn’t sound appealing too. In fact, the whole movie looks like a run-of-the-mill action showcase with tons of bullets flying and dangerous driving, starring actors that I like, but not love enough to want to shell out money and/or time for.

(Edit on 20 July 2020: Wow, I just realised how similar Mark Wahlberg’s Netflix film Spenser Confidential looks to this. ?)

Maybe he should take less “manly” roles, and more critically acclaimed projects. Or choose projects with better plots? With better directors? I must say I’m at a loss as to how he can make movies that interest me. Though I suppose that as long as his movies do well enough and there’s an audience out there for them, it doesn’t matter what I think about his choices and whether I watch them. (And they are doing well, whatever I think about them. Ted made 10 times its budget of $50 million, while The Happening, despite being panned by critics, earned $163 million worldwide on a $48 million budget. 2 Guns has already made back its budget in the U.S., and it hasn’t fully opened in the rest of the world yet.)

Which is unfortunate, because I really do wish he is an actor whose upcoming films I will get excited about, like Christian Bale, or Michael Fassbender, or Tom Hiddleston, because he has so much talent. But for now, his films and I are not meant to be.

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