Mile 22, 2018.
Directed by Peter Berg.
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohen, Iko Uwais, John Malkovich, Ronda Rousey, and Carlo Alban.
James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) is an elite American intelligence officer working with a top secret tactical unit. When he’s tasked with smuggling a high value asset (Iko Uwais) out of foreign territory, he must use his unique skillset in order to escape the dangerous concrete jungle with their lives intact.
Oh wow. And not in a good way. Peter Berg’s fourth consecutive film with his action muse, Mark Wahlberg, to put it bluntly, is an absolute stinker.
It’s difficult to know where to begin, so we’ll start with the red herring that is Mile 22‘s opening scene. A sequence which suggests Berg will use his impressive default setting as an action director, one which has served him so well in the likes of The Kingdom and Lone Survivor. A frantic assault on a drug den, punctuated with wince-inducing bursts of violence, hidden walls, and an effective ticking clock element.
Then it’s downhill fast as we get introduced to the characters, and it’s being generous to label them as such. The filmmakers intended this to be a franchise, yet the idea of spending any more time with Wahlberg’s insufferable lead is a terrifying thought. Going down The Accountant route of inflicting him with a disorder, one that isn’t given any weight beyond an opening credit backstory, the kind of expository montage that’s usually afforded to the likes of Godzilla, means that we know nothing about him beyond the fact he’s dialled up to eleven and a bit of a dick. It’s such a one note performance, the only depth afforded to him being a wrist band he flicks to control his anger, but in truth it feels like it’s wrapped around the audience’s face, being repeatedly pulled.
Adding to the viewer’s discombobulation is the strange choice of shot composition. During the opening half hour it’s as if Berg is deliberately keeping his actors obscured by the head of an extra, or the edge of the screen. It’s so off-putting. However, that’s nothing compared to the incomprehensible nature of some of the action scenes. There’s a fight in a cafe that’s choreographed in a way which makes it impossible to distinguish who’s hitting who, but thankfully by that point you really don’t care.
What makes this even more disappointing, especially considering the talent involved, is that you have a physical actor as unique as The Raid‘s Iko Uwais, put him in a single breathless laboratory showdown, which is more kick-ass than anything in the movie, and then plant him firmly in the shadow of Wahlberg’s plank.
Mile 22 feels like spending a couple of hours in the company of teenage boys who’ve just learned the F word. The type of film where an attempt at feminism is punctuated by the word “bitch“. In fact it’s so dumb that you’ll feel 50% stupider than you did before the film began.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ / Movie ★
Matt Rodgers – Follow me on Twitter @mainstreammatt