Original Title: Mile 22
Year of Release: 2018
Genres: Action Thriller
Director: Peter Berg
Writers: Graham Roland, Lea Carpenter
Main Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, John Malkovich, Ronda Rousey
Mile 22 is the obligatory end-of-summer action thriller, one that is overly ambitious and has good things going for it, yet falls short of its aspirations. That is a shame, because the Peter Berg/Mark Wahlberg collaborations have been pretty solid up until now, especially 2013’s Lone Survivor, telling real-life story in very effective dramatic fashion (albeit very patriotically).
The strong points of Mile 22 are its cast and action. The team of CIA field officers is led by John Malkovich (who spends the majority of the runtime in one bare-bones room), and it is comprised of Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Ronda Rousey, and Carlo Alban. Their mission is to escort a high-priority asset (Iko Uwais) 22 miles to an extraction point. For the first half of the film there is plenty of angry people shouting angrily at other angry people, which was starting to get very obnoxious. The second half of the film is basically an escort mission from a video game, in which the team is constantly being attacked by an endless number of henchmen that want to kill Uwais.
The cast itself does a good job with their roles, with most of the actors sticking close to their guns: Marky Mark talks fast and screams at everyone’s face, Cohan looks grumpy most of the time, and Uwais kicks all sorts of ass while looking serious. The biggest surprise was Ronda Rousey: after being relegated to supporting roles that felt like glorified cameos (i.e. Furious 7, Expendables 3), here she actually delivers a solid performance, and she ends up being the most likable character in the film (in one scene Wahlberg literally yells at her “No birthday cake!” while smacking her chocolate cake away from her). The villains are painfully underdeveloped and forgettable (as are most of the characters), and the overall story is constantly being narrated by Wahlberg post events of the film, making a seemingly simple story more convoluted than it needed to be (it doesn’t help that the final 5 minutes of the film had me confused as to what was going on).
In a movie like this, all one man wants is some entertaining action. The best scenes all feature Iko Uwais, kicking and punching and stabbing people left and right, and they work mostly because those fights are choreographed so well that it’s hard to fuck them up in the editing room and with poor cinematography. The same, sadly, cannot be said about the shootouts: while not as terrible as some critics are making them out to be, the editing is overly-fast, showing three different shots of one person shooting without giving the action time to breathe. It becomes particularly confusing to focus on what is going on during the climactic fight inside an apartment complex, where everything is dark, dusty, and looks the same. That’s a shame, cause the sound design, practical explosions and gore, and prop guns are all of high quality.
Overall, Mile 22 is a mediocre action film, one that doesn’t excel at anything and that wasted its potential of being a straightforward action thrill-ride like Gareth Evans’ masterful The Raid duology. Worth a rental or Netflix watch only for a couple of fight scenes.
Visual Effects: 8.5
Violence & Gore: 9
Sex & Nudity: 3
Drugs & Profanity: 4
Intensity & Horror: 6
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