Thumbs Up or Thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.
Mile 22 is a spy action thriller that follows an elite paramilitary team called ‘Overwatch’ who are tasked with transporting a high-priority asset 22 miles across Southeast Asia from the American embassy to an airfield for extraction. The asset is holding vital information about potential terrorist attacks, however to complete this mission the team must outrun and survive the local military, police and other gang leaders in the process.Mark Wahlberg stars as James Silva, lead operative of the CIA’s most highly-prized and least-understood unit with John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais and Ronda Rousey in supporting roles.
It is the latest Mark Whalberg outing with director Peter Berg having previously collaborated for Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon and Lone Survivor. Out of those, I’ve only seen Patriots Day which I thought was surprisingly good! [CLICK HERE TO READ MY REVIEW! Okay, shameless plug over] Other than within the Transformers films (which are awful no matter who stars in them) I will admit that I do tend to like Whalberg’s films. They have a habit of being easy watches where you can turn your brain off and just enjoy them. I was expecting the same for Mile 22. After all the plot is a simple, yet intriguing, premise. Get this guy from here to here, while everyone and their nan wants you dead.
I don’t think it’s actually possible for me to turn my brain off enough to forgive this films problems though. Mile 22 poorly executed on every level.
Problems start immediately with the films characters or rather, the same character over and over again with a different name. No seriously, every ground operative of ‘Overwatch’ is the same loud, rude and obnoxious ‘bad ass’ who shouts at people with a smug strut. Sure, have one character with a pissed off attitude but don’t make everyone the same person! It’s just not interesting. Thankfully, Iko Uwais, who plays ‘the asset’ in need to transport is actually a mildly interesting character, at least in comparison. He plays a calm and confident police officer who secretly has bad ass ninja skills and will kill you with anything he can find within a room. Not the most complex character in the world I will grant you, but much better than the multiple Shouty American McShoutPants he interacts with. NO SERIOUSLY THEY ALL PLAY THE SAME CHARACTER. I’M NOT JOKING!
The true downfall of this film isn’t its poor characterisation and lazy writing however. That would fall to the action. There is a part of me that can forgive certain things for cool action, I’ll admit it but Mile 22 can’t even deliver in this department.
Welcome to shaky cam and 15 cuts a second action! Want to know what’s going on in a fight and who has the upper hand? Forget about it! You’ll be lucky if you can even tell who is punching who. I’ve recently praised films like John Wick and Atomic Blonde for their long shots and fight sequences that really let you see the action and feel the brutality. This is the opposite. It is impossible to keep track of anything! Cut! Cut! Cut! I really hate it. Why can’t other directors learn that longer, choreographed chunks of action always work so much better. It’s not the worst film to have ever done this, don’t get me wrong. Mile 22 hasn’t reinvented the wheel in lazy action scenes. It’s just not very good, classic lazy Hollywood. Below average in every way. What makes it worse is that you have Iko Uwais, from The Raid franchise which is known for this very thing! A truly wasted opportunity.
Overall, Mile 22 is an action film that had a great and simple premise but unfortunately misfires on everything that matters. There are a few clever plot points that do stand out from your regular action flick, but they come too little too late. There are thousands of better action movies out there, some even starring Mark Wahlberg. I can see this movie falling into the TV rerun category on channels like ITV2 in a few years time, which isn’t really a compliment. Ultimately I’m disappointed because this game of double agents coupled with brutal action could and should have been so much more. I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you’ve got nothing else to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon and can’t be bothered changing channels.