“Mile 22” stars Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, and Ronda Rousey. Released on August 17, 2018, the film is about a paramilitary operative who attempts to move an asset out of a foreign country.
The film is directed by Peter Berg, who also directed films such as “The Rundown”, “Battleship”, “Lone Survivor”, and “Patriots Day”. When summer vacation is coming to a close, there’s always time for us to add one more dose of action juice into our bodies before school starts. This latest action thriller is the latest collaboration between Berg and Wahlberg, after successfully delivering the emotional thrills into their well-deserved fact-based films like “Deepwater Horizon” and my personal favorite from them, “Patriots Day”. Unlike those films, this one isn’t based on a real life event and is served to provide some good old-fashioned entertainment for its audience. Is it able to accomplish this goal?
The story follows an elite CIA task force, lead by James Silva (played by Wahlberg). They are tasked to escort an intelligence agent known as Li Noor (Uwais) to an extraction point before a group of terrorists hunts him down and kills him. What makes this mission even more enticing is that Noor knows about a life-threatening plot that could spell doom for the entire population. There’s a lot for this film to ride on, especially when it’s intended to kickstart a potential action franchise. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best way to start things off on a high note. If a student were to make a school project for their teacher, who has high expectations for it, and it turned out to be so disappointing that the teacher gave that student detention for a month, that pretty much sums up the reception “Mile 22” has been getting since its release. The film’s concept has plenty of interesting qualities that could make this another late summer hit, but it felt like Berg is having a difficult time putting the right pieces together, which is a pretty darn shame considering the fact that he did so well with his last few films. Maybe if “Mile 22” is actually based on a true story, it would’ve been a bit better than it was now. Not only did the film’s plot fail to live up to its action thriller aspect, but the characters themselves came out as either forgettable or just mean-spirited. Probably both. It’s fine to make some of the characters a bit mean just as long as they have enough charm to make the audience care for them. This film wasn’t the best example of properly portraying these types of characters. The story and the characters are the main ingredients needed to make a satisfying piece of popcorn-inducing entertainment, which is why some action movies like “Mission: Impossible” worked so well with critics and audiences. Here, it’s basically just people shooting at one another or beating the crud out of one another without any sort of depth whatsoever. But those aren’t the only problems I had with this film. No sir. It’s the editing that really blew the project to pieces. Whether it’s the action sequences or the scenes that involve dialogue, the editors love to make it really hard for the audience to see what is going on. The film has some pretty good action scenes, to be honest, but the choppy editing messed up the consistent thrills for me. The only good thing about it is that Mark Wahlberg delivered his most intimidating, yet engaging, performance yet as James Silva. If you like him in his other movies, you might enjoy him in this and nothing else. Uwais was also decent in his role as Li Noor, even though his martial arts sequences were ruined by the messy editing.
Overall, with its weak plot, forgettable characters, and lazy editing, “Mile 22” is a mission failure. To be fair, Wahlberg and Uwais did what they could to escort this film to safety, but considering the talents onscreen and off, especially Peter Berg, this could’ve been a decent late summer thrill ride. I wouldn’t say that it’s as bad as “Traffik”, but I would say that as a fan of the action genre, it was a pretty big let down. If you still want to see it, I would recommend waiting until it appears on television or on a streaming service.