<em>Men’s Fitness</em> cover model Mark Wahlberg has played many different roles in the story of his life. After a troubled childhood, Wahlberg became a rapper. Then he was a Calvin Klein model. He went on to be an exercise pro, and even created a professional <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/training/build-muscle/6-simple-steps-to-a-suc... video. By the mid-1990s he got into the movie business, and it wasn’t long before he started getting big-time supporting and starring roles. Most of his parts have involved adrenaline-racing action and sports movies, although he has also done drama and comedy films, such as this summer’s <em>Ted</em>. To pay tribute to Marky Mark as both an action hero and all-around fit guy, we’ve rounded up his best adrenaline-racing roles of all time.
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">The Perfect Storm (2000)</font></h3>
If you get seasick or have a phobia about being stranded at sea, this is not the film for you. But if you’ve ever had to choose between a girl and a job, or found your inner strength tested in a potentially life-threatening situation, you’ll be able to relate to Mark Wahlberg in his role as Bobby Shatford in this film, a young, inexperienced but eager fisherman working under the wing of Captain Billy Tyne (George Clooney). Shatford faces a dilemma from the start, having to choose between going out to sea with Tyne for the last fishing trip of the season or staying on shore with his serious girlfriend, Christina. Strapped for cash after a run of bad fishing trips, Shatford decides to join Tyne, despite foreboding weather forecasts and Christina’s bad feeling about it. The rest of the film is an action-packed man versus sea battle, as Tyne, Shatford and the rest of the crew fight valiantly against forces far greater than themselves and their undersized fishing boat.
<strong>Wahlberg’s Best Role Play</strong> In the role of Shatford, Wahlberg does his best fighting through what is ultimately a hopeless situation, taking up the ship’s wheel when the captain is busy, facing the wind and the waves head-on, and working as Clooney’s right-hand man to the bitter end.
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">The Italian Job (2003)</font></h3>
Wahlberg plays the lead role of Charlie Croker in The Italian Job, a heist film with an abundance of chase scenes involving Mini Coopers, a helicopter, and a number of other vehicles. Charlie is portrayed as a bad guy with integrity, seeking revenge upon a man named Steve (Edward Norton) after he double-crossed them, killed the leader of their heist—a guy Charlie was close to—and made off with the $35 million in gold they were looking to get away with and split.
<strong>Wahlberg’s Best Role Play</strong> Wahlberg plays a guy with some remarkable driving skills who stays cool under pressure, and whose loyalty to his friends outweighs his desire for money (even if that provides some extra motivation).
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">Four Brothers (2005)</font></h3>
In Four Brothers, Wahlberg plays the leading brother, Bobby, as they investigate the circumstances of the murder of their adoptive mother, Evelyn. Initially assuming it was an accident since it occurred in a convenience store, they learn she was actually set up, paving the way for the revenge plot that drives the rest of the movie. Often in a state of rage, Bobby leads the brothers to confront some of Detroit’s most notorious criminals in an attempt to shoot their way to the top and kill the man ultimately responsible for their mother’s death, killing many along the way.
<strong>Wahlberg’s Best Role Play</strong>Wahlberg gives a gritty performance in this one as a flawed protagonist, fearless and willing to die for his mom and brothers through some violent vigilante justice.
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">Invincible (2006)</font></h3>
Mark Wahlberg stars as Vince Papale in Invincible, a sports movie loosely based upon the real Papale’s football story. In the film, set in Philadelphia in the 1970s, Papale is a 30-year-old bartender with his life going down the toilet after he loses his part-time teaching job and his wife leaves him. Meanwhile, the Eagles announce to the public they are holding open tryouts for the team. The neighborhood bar flies encourage Papale to attend to show off his skills—even if he’s never had college or professional football experience. The movie follows Papale’s path to the NFL, as he becomes the only man from the tryout to be invited to training camp, then has to square off against a slew of players who think he doesn’t belong there as he vies for a spot on the roster.
<strong>Wahlberg’s Best Role Play</strong>Wahlberg does a great job in Invincible portraying the underdog, rising from nothing to achieve his dreams through skill, determination and athleticism.
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">The Departed (2006)</font></h3>
Wahlberg plays Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam in the Martin Scorsese film that took the Oscar for Best Picture in 2006. In this intricate crime thriller, Wahlberg joined a star-studded cast with a laundry list of huge names (such as DiCaprio, Nicholson, and Damon) in a supporting role, playing a cop – and unlike some of the others, he’s a straightforward one who carries out his job without any ties to Boston’s Irish mob. This turns out to be pretty rare, as Dignam proves to be one of few characters in The Departed that isn’t full of crap, catching onto the crooked cop Sullivan (Matt Damon) and constantly looking to take down mob boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) while everyone else shuffles their feet.
<strong>Wahlberg’s Best Role Play</strong> In the role of Dignam, Wahlberg ably plays a tough cop, showing off his native Bostonian accent and attitude in the process.
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">Shooter (2007)</font></h3>
In Shooter, Wahlberg plays Bob Lee Swagger, a skilled military marksman who has retired to lead a peaceful, isolated life in the mountains. Of course, his high level of skill leads high-ranking military personnel to seek him out and bring him back to action to defend the president from a potential long-range sniper attack. Ultimately double-crossed, Swagger ends up taking on the FBI by himself, as everyone is made to believe he is the one who made an attempt on the president’s life and killed an archbishop instead.
<strong>Wahlberg’s Best Role Play</strong>Here, Wahlberg plays another action hero driven by revenge, not to mention his desire to clear his name. Swagger proves to be the best sniper in the world over the course of the film, taking out several targets from very long distances while never losing his cool. Shooter ends up being an action movie in which extraordinary skill and patience from one man wins out over sheer brawn and numbers.
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">Max Payne (2008)</font></h3>
One of his darkest roles, Wahlberg played the character of Max Payne, based on the video game of the same name that came out in 2001. Payne is determined to find justice for the murder of his wife and baby, and he descends into the dark corners of the city as he deals with some of its sketchiest people getting to the bottom of it.
<strong>Wahlberg’s Best Role Play</strong> Max Payne was not the best received action film, but it still boasts exciting action sequences, an interesting visual style and it has Wahlberg filling the role as one of the most iconic video game characters of all time.
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">The Other Guys (2010)</font></h3>
While playing detective Terry Hoitz, partner to detective Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell), Mark Wahlberg shows off his ability to blend action and comedy in The Other Guys. Hoitz is relegated to office work after accidentally shooting Derek Jeter during the World Series, leaving him anxious to get back out into the field, and jealous of the cocky, fearless-but-reckless detective duo (played by The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson) idolized by everyone else in the department. Hoitz eventually gains back some trust from his higher-ups as he follows Gamble on an investigation of a multi-billion dollar embezzlement plot reminiscent of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. As a result, Hoitz gets to take part in the car chases and dangerous action sequences he craves, comically dragging the less reckless Gamble along for every twist and turn.
<strong>Wahlberg’s Best Role Play</strong> Wahlberg shows he can be a less serious action hero, as many scenes serve to parody other action flicks.
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">The Fighter (2010)</font></h3>
Despite a career filled with memorable action roles that all required Wahlberg to maintain high fitness levels, no film could have motivated him to train harder and more obsessively than he did for the lead role of “Irish” Micky Ward in The Fighter. Wahlberg gives a strong performance as Ward, a boxer who’s running out of time to make his mark and is getting placed in fights he has no chance of winning. Oscar-winning performances from Christian Bale, Micky’s crack addicted half-brother with boxing experience, as well as Melissa Leo, his controlling mother Alice, make this a memorable underdog story based on true events.
<strong>Wahlberg’s Best Role Play</strong> Wahlberg said he trained eight to 10 hours a day for four years for the part, as the push to get the film off the ground was stalled for a long period of time. As a result, he had the perfect boxer’s physique for the movie, while also doing all of his own stunts in the ring, often putting himself in harm’s way.
<h3><font color="red" font family="Arial">Contraband (2012)</font></h3>
In Wahlberg’s most recent action role, he plays Chris Farraday, a regular working man who gave up his old, successful life of crime running contraband with his father to lead a more peaceful lifestyle. Unfortunately, in a twist similar to Shooter, Farraday is forced back into his old, more dangerous and violent ways when his brother-in-law, Andy, faces a $700,00 ransom from his mob boss after failing to smuggle a huge shipment of drugs. Seeing no other recourse, Chris decides to get back into the life for one big score to save Andy, going with a team to purchase millions of dollars in fake bills in Panama.
<strong>Wahlberg’s Best Role Play</strong> Wahlberg is, once again, at the center of the action in this film, surviving several firefights, sketchy negotiations and problems keeping his family safe, all in an attempt to make it out of a nearly impossible situation unscathed.