So our Editor’s recent claim to have run a marathon in record breaking time was found to be the nonsense we expect from him when he told us that the secret to his success was that he’d taken a short cut (‘You’re Fired!’ – Ed). Mile 22 is still further than he actually ran but here it’s the fourth collaboration between former pants model and apparently 2017’s most overpaid actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg. After the true life stories Deepwater Horizon & the excellent Patriots Day both have moved on to a fictional story.
Wahlberg is James Silva, a highly motivated almost obsessive US intelligence officer who suffers from being highly dislikeable due to a personality disorder that makes him something of a sociopath flying off the handle at the drop of a hat that he controls by pinging an elastic band on his wrist. It’s not dissimilar from Forest Whitaker’s cop on Taken 3 constantly flicking the band as a bit of actorly business that passes for a character trait as opposed to a bizarre tic that makes him look like a low level sadomasochist enthusiast.
Set in a vague East European country a mysterious cop Li Noor (Iko Uwais) walks into the US embassy with a USB containing sensitive information that he will only reveal the password to if they smuggle him out of the country. The pressure mounts when they find that the USB is counting down to self deleting if they don’t get the password or they can’t crack the code. It’s only when an assassination attempt is made on Noor that the race is on to escort him to an extraction point in time. So with the USB counting down to deletion Silva and his tactical command unit race across the city chased by a seemingly inexhaustible supply of assassins.
Overlooking all of this John Malkovich as Silva’s boss given the unenviable role of pacing around a room full of computer screen and their operators watching the chase and calling up drone strikes et al in order to assist their escape to the extraction point. Malkovich is always watchable but it’s a role that’s a bit of waste for such an actor who, over the past few years, has been in the sort of film that screams, ‘Cash grab!’ – yes we do mean Zoolander 2 & Transformers : Dark Side of the Moon.
Berg has assembled a continuous chase scene that takes in car chases, drone strikes and fights through buildings galore in utterly brutal and bloody shootouts and there’s little let up with the violence. It’s the sort of movie that has you cheering on the heroes against all the odds that they face. In that respect Mile 22 plays much like the fabulously bonkers 1977 Clint Eastwood film The Gauntlet, an enjoyably ludicrous and cartoonish film which this never is with no comic relief whatsoever.
Unfortunately Mile 22 lacks Clint and instead the core of the problem here is Wahlberg as Silva himself who is such a thoroughly dislikeable character that audiences are more inclined to cheer on the admittedly anonymous villains who are dispatched in their dozens in what plays like a continuous video game on a loop.
Berg is an extremely proficient action film director and the violence is painfully realistic and he expertly orchestrates the chaos helped by MMA star Ronda Rousey and breathtaking martial arts star Iwo Uwais who proved himself so brilliantly in The Raid films. Like those films there’s no laughs to be had here and Mile 22 is let down by an almost nonsensical ending which undermines the breathless and unrelenting action that has gone before. That coupled with an objectionable lead character makes Mile 22 a hard film to like.
Here’s the Mile 22 trailer…….