You won’t enjoy this bumpy ride.
Synopsis: An elite American intelligence officer, aided by a top-secret tactical command unit, tries to smuggle a mysterious police officer with sensitive information out of the country. (VVS Films)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, and Iko Uwais
Writer: Lea Carpenter
Director: Peter Berg
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 95mins
You might be surprised by the fact that this is not a Michael Bay movie. This film is rather the fourth collaboration between Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg. This collaboration has given birth to such gems as Lone Survivor (haven’t seen that one), Deepwater Horizon, and Patriots Day. Their new film, Mile 22, will surely not be regarded as highly as the previous three. If you like big, stupid, action films and you have a short attention span, then it may very well be for you. In fact, it would not be necessarily accurate to call this a film, seeing that this was more of a series of unbearably self-righteous, machismo elements thrown at a wall to see what stuck.
The story here, if it could be called one, was about a top-secret tactical command unit called Overwatch, led by the insufferable James Silva (Wahlberg). Their latest mission was to to smuggle a mysterious police officer with sensitive information named Li Noor (Uwais) out of a fictional Asian country. Perhaps the film’s setting was in a fictional country since nothing that happened here would ever happen in real life. Granted, this is supposed to be a work of fiction, however, the level of mindlessness needed to become invested was just too much to ask. There was always a lot happening on screen with plenty of explosions, gun battles, and hand to hand combat, leaving a high body count in its wake but its repetitive nature and the sheer amount of editing and shaky cam made these sequences almost unwatchable.
Of course there’s more going on here as the film tried to be something deeper by being a convoluted political thriller but it didn’t matter all that much since no one will be watching this for its story anyway. This was also the case with its characters as it was hard to care for any of them. Though they weren’t given much of a chance with Silva sucking up all the air on screen. His imposing presence only hurt the film because he was so unlikable as a character. Silva was the worst part of the film as he simply became more and more unlikable as the film went on, being a jerk and spewing plenty of eye roll worthy, cheesy, smartass, tough guy dialog. Meanwhile, Noor was the best part of the film, being the most interesting character, however, he was pretty much relegated to the background for the majority of the proceedings. Unsurprisingly, the film’s cliffhanger ending hints at the possibility of more to come.
With everything else going on, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the acting wasn’t that great although these performances could be attributed to the horrendous script and direction more than anything else. To get that imposing presence across, it felt like Wahlberg overacted as Silva. He has proven countless times in the past that he can be an action star but he was too much here. Though the other actors weren’t given much of a chance because of Wahlberg, they did their best with what they had. Lauren Cohan was a serviceable action star as Alice, another member of Overwatch and the female equivalent of Silva. Uwais was fun to watch when he was given the chance to use his well-known martial arts skills.
Overall, this was a big, stupid, repetitive, and needlessly violent American propaganda action film full of ADHD editing and camerawork, horrendously self-righteous macho dialog, and an insufferable performance from Mark Wahlberg. At least it’s over before you know it though you’ll forget about it soon after. This film obviously won’t be for everyone but if you are not a fan of these kinds of films, you wouldn’t have seen it anyway. If you need more from your action films, look elsewhere.