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Review: Mile 22

Mark Wahlberg stars in STX Films' MILE 22

I wasn’t hoping for an amazing piece of cinematic art to come from Mile 22. My only desire heading in that it would be an action-packed, violent, and to the point action flick that people could be thoroughly entertained by. On the surface, it seemed like one of those movies that could fill that void with a no-nonsense approach that wasn’t in need of substance, but that’s not what we get. Instead, there’s an attempt to add depth to what’s being shown that unfortunately proved to one of the many problems that this Peter Berg directed film was unable to overcome.

In this movie, Mark Wahlberg stars as James Silva, an operative who is a part of the CIA’s most highly-prized and little-known unit. Aided by his top-secret team, the devoted CIA agent must transport a mysterious asset (Iko Uwais) with vital information to a Southeast Asian airfield for extraction. With only a short amount of time to make it through 22 miles of terrain, Silva and his team find themselves fighting through a legion of enemies on their trail while hoping to prevent an even greater danger from sprouting up.

There appeared to be some potential here, but it turns out that Mile 22 is one of the least engaging action movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life. At no time do you ever feel any type of connection to anyone or anything that we’re introduced to in the movie. At some point, you’re supposed to feel something for either the characters or the series of events that they’re partaking in, but neither one of those things occurs.

One reason this happens comes down to the characters. Just about every one of the people we meet is one-dimensional, paper-thin, and almost completely lifeless. The only person with that comes close to having any kind of depth is Alice Kerr played by Lauren Cohan. Starting early in the first act, we have the misfortune of being introduced to all of the family baggage that she’s carrying with her. This drags on for the rest of the movie and doesn’t benefit anyone at all. It’s never interesting, and simply gets in the way whenever we are forced to sit through it.

You would think if they were going to attempt to build anyone’s character, it would be Mark Wahlberg’s since he is the film’s protagonist. We do get some of his backstory during the opening credits, but that’s about it. I didn’t have an issue with this since I thought this would be a straight forward action movie that wouldn’t waste time getting into all of the violence. I was wrong about that, but II’ll touch on that a bit later.

What’s explained in the credits is that Wahlberg’s Silva is essentially a super genius with some mental issues. That’s an intriguing thing to add to a movie, but nothing comes out of that here. One would think that when you make a character with those attributes, that stuff would come into play, but it never does at any time. The only thing we get is him flicking a rubber band on his wrist through the entire movie. Other than that, he’s the same character he’s been playing for years now.

I also found that the story was sometimes hard to follow. The basics of the premise were obvious, but the movie was so sloppy in its structure that it doesn’t look as if we get many of the necessary details that make movies work. The biggest problem that comes from this is the lack of information we’re given about the vast majority of the characters. They introduce people without telling us anything about them. In some cases, these guys just disappear never to be seen again.

As for the people who stick around, you don’t even know why some of them are doing what they’re doing. They just sit around or pop up looking to cause trouble for whatever reason. To be fair, one of these instances leads to a twist that’s saved for the end, but I have no way to explain the rest of it. I’m not asking for much when it comes to movies like Mile 22, but it’s important to give viewers a tighter, more developed story than this if you’re going to take it in this direction.

The only thing that was decent in this movie is the action. You get a couple of fights to go along with some shootouts and a car chase, but there isn’t as much of this stuff as you would think. In fact, much of the run time here is dedicated to Wahlberg and the gang talking. Of course, some of that is to be expected, but there’s way more chitchat than anyone could have been anticipating. In fact, it’s easily the driving force of this movie even though most of what’s being said is irrelevant.

The weirdest thing about Mile 22 is that they thought trying to set up a sequel was a good idea. That was a horrible miscalculation since I doubt too many people will actually see this anyway. If that doesn’t derail the potential of a sequel, I’m sure the utter disappointment from the people who do watch it will likely kill any chances of them ever making a followup. If I’m wrong, I hope the next one is much better than what we get here. If that’s the case, I’ll be open to it like always.

Rating: R

Director: Peter Berg

Mark Wahlberg
John Malkovich
Lauren Cohan
Iko Uwais
Ronda Rousey
Nikolai Nikolaeff
Carlo Alban
Terry Kinney

Film Length: 94 minutes

Release Date: August 17, 2018

Distributor: STX Films

  • 2/10
    Score - 2/10
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