Top 10 Best and Worst Mark Wahlberg Movies



Top 10 Best and Worst Mark Wahlberg Movies

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
For better — or worse — this star is never short on roles. For this list, we'll be looking at some of the very best and worst movies in which Mark Wahlberg has appeared. Our countdown includes “Max Payne”, “Lone Survivor”, “The Fighter”, and more!
Script Written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Best and Worst Mark Wahlberg Movies

For better — or worse — this star is never short on roles. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best and Worst Mark Wahlberg Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the very best and worst movies in which Mark Wahlberg has appeared. In terms of how we’re evaluating them, we’re taking into account both the overall quality of the films and Wahlberg’s performance.

#5: WORST: “Max Payne” (2008)

This video game adaptation has now largely been forgotten and . . . that’s probably for the best. It was not only critically panned at the time of its release, but also failed to resonate with fans of the popular third person shooter franchise. Visually, the film seems to be going for a hyper-stylized approach in the vein of “300”, “Sin City” and “Dredd”, but it’s simply not very well-executed (no pun intended). Mark Wahlberg, for his part, earned himself a Razzie nomination for his performance. He’s usually pretty reliable in the role of the gritty, determined hero, but in this film he feels utterly two-dimensional - a stock video game hero unworthy of the Max Payne name.

#5: BEST: “Lone Survivor” (2013)

Based on the true story of a failed Navy SEALs mission, and adapted from a book by the same name, “Lone Survivor” has Mark Wahlberg playing warrior Marcus Luttrell. After their counter-insurgency operation goes sideways, Luttrell and his fellow SEALs face insurmountable odds against Taliban forces. It’s a riveting film, if at times hard to watch, as the men deal with increasingly severe injuries. Wahlberg has described this as one of his proudest and most rewarding films as both actor and producer, and his passion translates to the screen. His performance earned him widespread acclaim, including from the critic who matters most - the man he was portraying, Marcus Luttrell.

#4: WORST: “The Corruptor” (1999)

Never heard of it? Lucky you! “The Corruptor” is American action movie/crime thriller that pairs Mark Wahlberg with one of Hong Kong’s greatest action stars. Suffice it to say, they both deserved better. The film follows a new recruit, Danny Wallace, who joins the NYPD’s Asian Gang Unit, led by Chow Yun-fat’s Nick Chen. With rival groups feuding in Chinatown, they must attempt to keep the peace and resist the ever-present temptations of corruption and bribery. It’s a compelling premise, but in execution, it’s a buffet of cliches. Chow Yun-fat and Wahlberg both give it their all, but they're held back by mediocre material and a director who seems to be operating well outside of his comfort zone.

#4: BEST: “Three Kings” (1999)

Released the same year as “The Corruptor”, “Three Kings” is a totally unique and all-around awesome film. A war dramedy, the movie is directed by David O. Russell, with whom Wahlberg would go on to repeatedly collaborate over the years. “Three Kings” casts Wahlberg in the role of Sergeant First Class Troy Barlow, one of four soldiers (the others are played by George Clooney, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze) who embark on a gold heist in Iraq. Barlow is a family man who undergoes some rather drastic character development over the course of the film. Managing to create moments of levity while navigating dark themes, Mark Wahlberg’s performance in “Three Kings” solidified his reputation as true talent.

#3: WORST: “Daddy's Home 2” (2017)

Though he might not be known as an explicitly comedic actor, Mark Wahlberg has some seriously funny performances under his belt. Sadly… his role in “Daddy’s Home 2” should not be counted among them, at least not in a good way. The first film was already a bit of a groan-inducer, but it made bank at the box office and so a sequel was inevitable. “Daddy’s Home 2” upped the ante by bringing in Mel Gibson, John Lithgow and John Cena, but as the reviews prove, going bigger doesn’t always make for a better film. Wahlberg’s performance earned the actor a Worst Actor Razzie nomination, while the movie was widely panned for a painful lack of laughs. What a waste of a talented cast!

#3: BEST: “The Fighter” (2010)

Mark Wahlberg’s third collaboration with director David O. Russell, “The Fighter” is a moving sports drama/biography about brothers Micky Ward and Dicky Ecklund. The film was released to widespread critical acclaim, garnering 7 Academy Award nominations, and Best Supporting wins for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. Sadly, Wahlberg’s performance was overshadowed by those of his co-stars. Wahlberg admittedly plays Ward in a more reserved and understated way, but it’s powerful acting in its own right. The role really allowed the actor to turn in an uncommonly subtle performance, one that showcases his range and knack for nuance. Wahlberg also served as producer on the film, giving him yet another reason to be proud of The Fighter’s overall success.

#2: WORST: “Transformers: The Last Knight” (2017)

Who could’ve predicted that the Transformers film that managed to add Sir Anthony Hopkins to the cast would be the worst to date? The man’s an acting legend, and not even he could save this film from itself! As such, we’re hesitant to lay too much blame at Mark Wahlberg’s feet. The plot is needlessly convoluted, paper thin and the robot-fighting action more over-the-top than ever before. Mark Wahlberg is fine in the film, or at least no worse than his co-stars. The only thing we CAN blame him for is agreeing to participate in this sequel despite“Transformers: Age of Extinction” having been such a colossal disappointment. Then again, there are surely worse ways to make a huge paycheck.

#2: BEST: “The Departed” (2006)

Easily among Martin Scorsese’s best films of the century, “The Departed” is a gritty crime drama set on the mean streets of Boston. It also bears the distinction of being one of the few American remakes of an international film that can rival the original in terms of quality. In this messy story of cops and crooks, Mark Wahlberg plays Sgt. Sean Dignam. And quite frankly, it seems as if the role was written specifically with the actor in mind. Dignam is a fast-talking, perpetually tense man who says what’s on his mind and is quick to anger. He’s always got an insult armed and ready. Wahlberg brings real depth to what could have been a two-dimensional character, and rightfully earned an Oscar nod for his performance.

#1: WORST: “The Happening” (2008)

2008 was not a good year for Mark Wahlberg. He appeared in two films; one was this trainwreck of an M. Night Shyamalan film, and the other was the aforementioned “Max Payne”. As bad as the latter film was, at least it was forgettable. “The Happening”, by contrast, was spectacularly bad. From its placeholder of a title to its B-movie trappings, everything about it feels like a parody of the filmmaker’s past efforts. As for Mark Wahlberg specifically, he played Elliot Moore, a high school science teacher, and feels notably miscast in the role. If nothing else, he makes for a likeable enough lead, but the character is just so generic by design that it earned Wahlberg a double Razzie nomination alongside Max Payne.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“The Other Guys” (2010)

“Deepwater Horizon” (2016)

“Pain & Gain” (2013)

And . . . a few dishonorable mentions!

“The Big Hit” (1998)

“Broken City” (2013)

“The Truth About Charlie” (2002)

#1: BEST “Boogie Nights” (1997)

This is the film that really launched Mark Wahlberg into bonafide movie stardom and leading man status. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, “Boogie Nights” dives into the 1970s adult film industry. The story follows Mark Wahlberg’s Eddie Adams, a teenaged school dropout who, upon being discovered, becomes popular pornstar Dirk Diggler. As his character evolves from shy to a headstrong prima donna, Wahlberg really gets to showcase his talent and versatility as an actor, making you believe the character every step of the way. Given the ahem, physical nature of the role, playing Elliot/Dirk really demanded that Wahlberg lose himself in the part; it’s an incredibly unselfconscious performance that holds up decades later.
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