Mark Wahlberg’s Violent Taliban Drama Is Trending

Mark Wahlberg has a wide filmography of action films, and this particular grim war drama is now trending.

By Dan Lawrence | Published

Marky Mark of the Funky Bunch has come a long way. Ever since his breakout movie role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, Mark Wahlberg has gone to become a bonafide Hollywood superstar. One of his many action films, the Taliban war drama Lone Survivor, is now trending on HBO Max. 

mark wahlberg

Lone Survivor has been soaring in the HBO Max viewing charts recently, not falling from the top five most watched movies on the streaming service all week. The film is based on the true story of a tragically failed Navy SEAL operation in Afghanistan in 2005. The aim was to take out a notorious Taliban leader, but the Special Forces team became hopelessly outnumbered by a swarm of enemy forces. Wahlberg stars as Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, and Luttrell’s military compatriots Michael Murphy, Danny Dietz, and Matthew “Axe” Axelson are played by Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster respectively. Eric Bana also stars as Lieutenant Commander Erik S. Kristensen.

Lone Survivor is one of a number of a true to life war dramas that came out within a finite period. The Mark Wahlberg-starring film hit theatres on December 25 2013 and in the following year the Clint Eastwood-directed American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper, premiered on the big screen. Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, which retold the story of Osama bin Laden’s assassination preceded Lone Survivor by a year and Michael Bay got in the act of true-story war epics with 2016’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Each of these movies represents a successful period of true-story war dramas in American cinema. All four movies received Oscar nominations, with both American Sniper and Zero Dark Thirty winning an Academy Award for Sound Editing, and whilst Lone Survivor only scored a modest worldwide gross of $154 million at the box office, it received a good reviews from critics, with a 75% score on Rotten Tomatoes

Lone Survivor is just one of the many films that Mark Wahlberg has had a star turn in. There of course was his breakout role as pornstar Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights, a role which apparently was originally intended for Leonardo DiCaprio. Wahlberg has starred in many projects since, from the Best Picture Oscar-winning The Departed (coincidentally starring old buddy Leonardo DiCaprio along with Matt Damon), to what critics call his best movie, the dark comedy Three Kings. Wahlberg has also starred in massive franchise movies such as Transformers: Age of Extinction and made audiences laugh in great comedies such as The Other Guys. Wahlberg has well and truly established himself as a versatile actor and this is perhaps why writer/director/producer of Lone Survivor Peter Berg has had Wahlberg involved in so many of his projects. 

In addition to Lone Survivor, Peter Berg has directed Mark Wahlberg in Deepwater Horizon, a disaster epic based on a true story of the worst oil spill in American history, following an offshore rig explosion. From Deepwater Horizon, Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg went on to Patriots Day, another true-story drama, this time centering on the tragic bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013. The pair followed up Patriots Day with the action flick Mile 22 and Netflix’s 2020 action-comedy buddy cop movie Spenser Confidential. Like Lone Survivor, both Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day proved to be critical hits for Berg and Wahlberg, but the same cannot be said for Mile 22 and Spenser Confidential, which both crashed and burned with critics, with the former suffering a paltry Rotten Tomatoes score of 23% and the latter 37%.

Since Spenser Confidential, both Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg have gone separate ways, perhaps in part due to the poor critical reception of their last two efforts together. However, Lone Survivor‘s initial success and resurgence on HBO Max is a sign that the pair have the ability to collaborate together and produce winning results, a fact further solidified by Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. Next up on Mark Wahlberg’s schedule is a comedy team-up with Kevin Hart next month for Me Time. The duo plays best friends who go on a wild weekend after Hart’s character is given some free time from his family. After Me Time, Mark Wahlberg has two further projects in post-production; Our Man from Jersey and Arthur the King, as well as The Billion Dollar Man, which is currently in pre-production.