Marky Mark must be desperate to recruit a new wave of the Funky Bunch as he traipses around Uncharted, attempting to appear presentable in a slate of future releases and past films that are questionable at best. Wahlberg has not had the greatest run of form, but nor has starring partner for this Ruben Fleischer-directed feature, Tom Holland. Outside of his meandering and acceptable application of Spider-Man, Holland has churned out dud after dud after dud. Uncharted is another dud, but one that is far beyond that of the horrifically timed Cherry or the entirely redundant Onward. That is progress for both Marky Mark and Holland, who try to champion the video game adaptation genre as best they can.
Big burly action is what Pain & Gain offers with its successful call-backs to the glory days of big-budget action entertainment. A dying breed this sort of film may be, it does not stop Michael Bay from turning in another expectedly explosive bit of work. The American Dream, in one way or another, will chew up and spit out whoever it can. Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) was one such man. His belief in fitness as the future of the country and as part of his own personal American Dream is a fascinating self-made rise and fall. Daniel Lugo is of the Jordan Belfort category in the sense that he is a self-made man that will stop at nothing to fulfil his goal as a freewheeling, charismatic businessman.
Stack the cast as high as you want, there is still a chance of a dud hand. Contraband should know this. No amount of J.K. Simmons can save you from the director behind 2 Guns, an equally bland, lifeless action feature that included Marky Mark Wahlberg in the leading role. This time, however, he is not buoyed by the successful marks Denzel Washington can leave on the mind and in a film. Wahlberg is isolated and in danger of drowning in the murky depths of mediocrity, and while he has never quite dissociated himself from the action genre, Contraband feels like the half-hearted attempt you’d get from a man whose success has catapulted him to pastures new.
When adapting the woes of the world, filmmakers must be careful with the fragile nature of the truth. They take the terrors of this, almost as if it were a burden, and bring it to the screen with the hopes of inspiring or warning their audience. Deepwater Horizon attempts to do both, controlling what we see and hear about Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg), in the hopes that he can be presented as a hero, but also as a victim of the very event that made him a name of integrity and hope. That much is present in this Peter Berg feature, but the story of Williams suffers from not just a simplicity that Berg finds comfort in, but with its representation of how these terrifying, real-world events shape the hearts and minds of those deeply involved with them.
Dependable the charms of Denzel Washington and the allure of Funky Bunch alumni Mark Wahlberg may be, their pairing within 2 Guns is an odd one. Baltasar Kormákur’s second of four flirtations with Hollywood sees the team-up of a Naval Intelligence officer and a DEA agent, taking down the relatively broad and loose ensemble of mob figures and criminal chancers. With a black Dodge Challenger and a Starsky & Hutch attitude between the leading pair, 2 Guns hits the ground fumbling and never quite recovers from there. It strikes up moments of quality, but moments are not good when spread so thinly. Adapting itself to the action tropes of the modern era, but never quite committing to them, 2 Guns is shaky from the start and degrades itself from there.
How money drives us and our decisions is of no surprise. We are all a bit selfish, and deep down probably enjoy the comfort that comes with self-preservation. I know I do, but, then, I am consistently in a state of not having any money. We all are. The privileged few that do have, as the title would suggest, All the Money in the World, are gluttonous. At least, that is what director Ridley Scott would wish to proclaim. Based on the tumultuous story of the Getty family and the kidnapping they work through, there is plenty of time to study greed and grief, but it stumbles far too often.