You kind of have to love Mark Wahlberg. While he's certainly capable of surprising audiences by breaking type (and doing it spectacularly), the man knows what he likes and doesn't apologize for any of it.
Over the years, Wahlberg has carved out his own corner of the crime genre, which we'll call the "Wahlberg Picture." There are clear variations in the several Wahlberg Pictures that Mark Wahlberg has made, but at their core, they're the same enjoyable flick. His newest movie, "Contraband," is no exception to this rule.
If you're unfamiliar, here is a helpful guide to the key characteristics of a Wahlberg Picture.
First and foremost, a Wahlberg Picture must involve crime. It isn't always a specific felony, but there will usually be some sort of hierarchy with a boss at the head. Wahlberg has the freedom to fall on either side of the law, as a cop ("We Own the Night"), a crook ("Contraband") or a potentially dirty cop ("The Departed"). With the last two examples, you'll notice a common theme which plays into the next point.
In a Wahlberg Picture, he'll hurt you, but only because you made him. In the cases where Wahlberg plays a criminal, his character doesn't come with the normal trappings of a villain. His crimes are always justified. Edward Norton either killed his girl's pop, or Giovanni Ribisi is going to kill his family. If Wahlberg is going to break the law, he's going to break the neck of the man who hurt him in the process, and that's because of…
Something that's always important to Wahlberg in a Wahlberg Picture. He's a family man. He wants you to say "hi" to your mother for him. "Four Brother," "Max Payne," "We Own the Night," "The Fighter" and "Contraband" all focus on revenge for or protection of his family. If you do not want to incur the wrath of Wahlberg, do not mess with his familybecause you will die.
You don't have to know a lot about Wahlberg to know that he comes from the streets of Boston and is proud of it. If the film isn't set in Boston, it will take place in New York or Detroit and be as Boston-like as possible. It will look like Boston. It will sound like Boston. For all intents and purposes, it will be Boston.
These are all important components to make a successful Wahlberg Picture, but what it really comes down to is character. You might not agree with his methods or how he treats people, but he's ultimately a good guy. He'll avenge his mother or kill Matt Damon when he's being a rat p---k. That's the kind of guy Wahlberg plays, and that's why we love him.
What is your favorite Wahlberg Picture? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!