The Best and Worst of Mark Wahlberg

Updated on July 13, 2017
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Alec is a film critic with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his reviews and articles will help launch his career.

Mark Wahlberg has come a long way in his life. He started as a punk and has now become one of the most well-known names in Hollywood. He may be an action and drama superstar, but that doesn't necessarily mean he hasn't had some bad films. Below I have listed the 5 best and 5 worst films of Mark's career. As always, I have included a complete filmography with my ratings of each film.

Best #1: Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon is one of those films that absolutely rips at your heart strings until you can't take it anymore then rips some more. The film tells the story behind one of the largest oil spills in history, bringing to the screen the harsh reality of what happened on that oil rig. It's a blessing that only 11 out of 126 workers were killed during the explosion and its aftermath, but no less of a tragedy that the lives were lost when their deaths could clearly have been prevented. The film gets a 4 out of 4.

Best #2: The Fighter

The Fighter is the true story of Micky Ward as he rises from amateur boxer to a true legend. The film doesn't just focus on the boxing, however. It keeps the focus on Micky's personal life and really gives the audience an emotional story and a reason to root for Micky. The film gets a 4 out of 4.

Best #3: Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor is another film that is a tour-de-force of emotion and harsh reality, showing us the heart wrenching truth behind what exactly happened to Marcus Luttrell and his small team of Navy SEALs that were sent in to capture or kill a known terrorist leader. Unfortunate circumstances turned the tables on them, however, forcing them to fight for their lives. The film gets a 3.5 out of 4.

Best #4: The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm is intense, definitely one of the most intense of all of Wahlberg's films. The main story revolving around a crew of commercial fishermen caught in an unusually incredible storm is based on true events. The bad part is that many events that were used to add drama to the film was based on three other separate trips and different fishermen altogether. Blending four different stories together is a bit unnecessary, but thankfully it wasn't so much that it was unbearable. Even with the historical inaccuracies, I still consider The Perfect Storm one of Mark Wahlberg's best films and best performances. The film gets a 3.5 out of 4.

Best #5: Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights is a gritty and disturbingly realistic depiction of just what life of porn stars is like. I know, many of you are probably gasping and cringing, but it's not what you might think. The film covers many events that people might not have thought could happen to a porn star. All people see are what's shown on-screen. They don't understand what goes on behind the scenes, and just how much torment some go through. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

The "Worst" section actually lives up to its name this time. These selections range from horrible to below average, but thankfully they didn't slow Mark down. Here are my picks for the worst of Mark Wahlberg.

Worst #1: The Big Hit

The Big Hit had a fun concept. It was the story of a skilled hitman who falls in love with his kidnapping victim, making his life and his job far more complicated than he ever expected. The film's problem is that it can never decide whether it wants to be a deep dramatic tale or a screwball comedy. It's clunky and falls flat on its face. The film gets a 1 out of 4.

Worst #2: The Truth About Charlie

This film is proof that sometimes you just shouldn't remake classics. The Truth About Charlie reimagines the original Audrey Hepburn film Charade, updating it for modern times. Thandie Newton and Mark Wahlberg have good chemistry together and would make a great duo in a better film, but these two are certainly no Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Wahlberg and Newton do the best they can with the script they were given, but ultimately, it turns out horribly. I give it a 1.5 out of 4.

Worst #3: The Happening

The Happening had promise. It gave the audience enough suspense and sparked enough curiosity to keep the film interesting. What really killed it was the explanation to the events. *SPOILER ALERT* They found out it was the trees and plants all working together to take revenge on humanity. I mean, really? That's a bit ridiculous, don't you think? It just felt like a huge cop out, or even an environmentalist agenda film. It tried, but it faltered. I give it a 2 out of 4.

Worst #4: Broken City

Broken City had an electrifying trailer and really got me hopeful for it. It seemed like it'd be an incredible, intense, riveting thriller. Plus, how can you go wrong with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe? Well, normally you wouldn't but the writers just couldn't keep the story moving along very well. The pacing was off, the thrills were dulled, and even the acting wasn't up to par compared to Mark and Russell's other brilliant performances. I have to give the film a 2 out of 4.

Worst #5: Contraband

Contraband essentially has a good plot, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. It's basically Gone in 60 Seconds only with drugs and counterfeit money instead of cars. The ironic part? Giovanni Ribisi was in both films. If you're looking for an action-packed thriller, you're looking in the wrong place. It's different, and that's okay, but it fails to deliver the power that it continues to hold back. I give the film a 2 out of 4.

Complete Filmography

  • Renaissance Man - 3 out of 4
  • The Basketball Diaries - 3 out of 4
  • Fear - 3.5 out of 4
  • Traveller - 3 out of 4
  • Boogie Nights - 3.5 out of 4
  • The Big Hit - 1 out of 4
  • The Corruptor - 3 out of 4
  • Three Kings - 3 out of 4
  • The Yards - 3 out of 4
  • The Perfect Storm - 3.5 out of 4
  • Planet of the Apes - 3 out of 4
  • Rock Star - 2.5 out of 4
  • The Truth About Charlie - 1.5 out of 4
  • The Italian Job - 3 out of 4
  • I Heart Huckabees - 2.5 out of 4
  • Four Brothers - 3 out of 4
  • Invincible - 3 out of 4
  • The Departed - 3.5 out of 4
  • Shooter - 3.5 out of 4
  • We Own the Night - 3.5 out of 4
  • The Happening - 2 out of 4
  • Max Payne - 3 out of 4
  • The Lovely Bones - 3.5 out of 4
  • Date Night - 3 out of 4
  • The Other Guys - 2.5 out of 4
  • The Fighter - 4 out of 4
  • Contraband - 2 out of 4
  • Ted - 3.5 out of 4
  • Broken City - 2 out of 4
  • Pain & Gain - 3 out of 4
  • 2 Guns - 3 out of 4
  • Lone Survivor - 3.5 out of 4
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction - 3 out of 4
  • The Gambler - 3.5 out of 4
  • Mojave - 3 out of 4
  • Entourage - 3 out of 4
  • Ted 2 - 3 out of 4
  • Daddy's Home - 3 out of 4
  • Deepwater Horizon - 4 out of 4

What's your favorite Mark Wahlberg film?

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Mark has been on a roll lately and I for one am looking forward to seeing what else he's got in store for us. So far, he's had mostly good movies and only a handful of rotten ones. Let's hope he continues to grow and gives us more incredible films.

© 2016 Alec Zander


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