Broken City, Mark Wahlberg's latest crime-drama hits cinemas this weekend on the back of dismal reviews. The movie, boasting a solid cast including Russell Crowe, sees Wahlberg play a police officer turned private investigator who is hired by the mayor of New York City to look into the personal life of his wife.
It all reads as pretty standard stuff and it's difficult to understand why actors of Wahlberg and Crowe's calibre are accepting these roles. The script is written by debutant Brian Tucker, while director Allen Hughes hardly has a glittery track-record, with or without his brother Albert. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine said of Broken City, "Another January dud. Broken City drops hot-shot actors in a quicksand of clichés and watches them sink," while Scott Foundas of the Village Voice suggested, "The actors look generally unhappy to be here, most of all Crowe, who seems even more miserable than he did in Les Misérables." It's likely Crowe was unhappy to be there, trying to figure out why he signed on to yet another bog-standard crime drama. Wahlberg was probably having a whale of a time, though he lost his way years ago. The defence that he's made the foray into directing and producing is irrelevant, given that he still keeps making bad movies. In 2006 - just 6 years ago - Mark Wahlberg gave the finest performance of his career in Martin Scorsese's all-conquering The Department. A near-perfect movie held together by Wahlberg's Dignam, an instantly dislikeable and immoral character though one that scored the 41-year-old an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. He lost out to Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine). Though a solid turn as legendary boxer Mickey Ward in The Fighter won Wahlberg some acclaim, he failed to capitalize on the fanfare for The Department and instead fell back into the same good-guy with guns roles.
The future looks bleak. Wahlberg recently starred opposite Dwayne Johnson in gym-drama Pain & Gain and will line up alongside Denzel Washington in another crime-drama, 2 Guns. After that, it's the comedy Good Time Gang, before beginning work on another totally unnecessary Transformers movie.
Watch The Broken City Trailer: