Friday, August 24, 2018

Movie Review: "Mile 22" (2018)

Director: Peter Berg
Year: 2018
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

A Special Forces agent from a Southeast Asian country seeks asylum in the United States and offers the location of several dangerous weapons of mass destruction in exchange for his safety. Now, an elite government agency known as Overwatch must transport him to an airstrip before his corrupt government takes him out.

"NO BIRTHDAY CAKE!" (Image Source)
"Mile 22" is directed by Peter Berg and, as recent tradition dictates, stars Mark Wahlberg. Usually, when Peter Berg directs a movie starring Mark Wahlberg, it involves a true-life story about an American action hero a la "Lone Survivor" or "Deepwater Horizon." This time around, the two decided to switch it up a bit by telling a totally fictional story about an American action hero. "Mile 22" revolves around a secret government agency known as Overwatch. This agency is made up of two teams. The first side consists of the tech-driven intelligence being run by a man named Bishop (James Malkovich), and the second features a group of soldiers on the ground headed by super-intelligent super-soldier James Silva (Mark Wahlberg). One day, a man named Li Noor (Iko Uwais), an Indocarr City Special Forces agent and asset of Overwatch agent Alice Kerr (Lauren Cohen), claims he has information on the location of a series of stolen radioactive isotopes known as cesium, which can be used to make a miniature nuclear bomb. Noor will give the U.S. government the locations of these items if they offer him asylum in the States. Now, Overwatch must transport him from the U.S. embassy to an airstrip 22 miles away, all while his own government tries to take him out along the way.
"There's a big difference between honest and reliable." (Image Source)
"Mile 22" can be a mixed bag, so let's start with the good. This movie is loaded with intense, ultra-violent action sequences that can be both exciting and fun to watch. There are some excellent fight scenes throughout this flick, and director Peter Berg showcases that both men and women can be believable action stars. Lauren Cohan, Ronda Rousey, and a couple of unnamed female assailants all get a chance to show off incredible combat skills and have several of the best moments of the film. We will admit that we actually liked where the story ended up, which was not what we expected (though we do suspect this may not be the case for everyone).

Now, let's talk about the not-so-good stuff. "Mile 22" has a lot of problems. First, Mark Wahlberg's character Joe Silva is a bit much. It's like Wahlberg is channeling his character in "The Happening," and if you've seen that film, you'll know this is not a compliment. The way Silva interacts with people is that he spews out a constant stream-of-consciousness-psychobabble-mishmash, all while snapping a Livestrong wristband over and over and over because he is a super-genius and his brain operates faster than us normal peons, so he has to calm himself down quickly or else he'll explode faster than the radioactive isotope he is hunting. His character, and by proxy Wahlberg's performance, gets quite grating as the film moves along its runtime. Another problem is the camerawork and the editing. The way some shots are framed is very distracting. There is the overabundance of quick-cuts throughout each of the action scenes. Iko Uwais is a fantastic martial arts action star, so why cut the film in a way that diminishes the marvelous fight choreography in his scenes? It makes absolutely no sense to us. It's like Peter Berg was so overeager to have Iko Uwais be in his movie that he dropped the ball on showing his real talents in an unfettered, unaltered manner. Finally, the dialogue fluctuates from being exposition-heavy and uber-patriotic to downright dumb and laughable. Lines are spewed about weighing the consequences and outcomes of individual freedoms and safety versus government secrets in the name of security right before Mark Wahlberg gives a monologue to a guy about how "he is chaos" and then swats a piece of birthday cake out of Ronda Rousey's hands. It can't be both silly and oorah all at once because it doesn't match up tonally speaking.
"Diplomacy never works when the match has been lit to start the fire." (Image Source)
Despite its many technical problems and some extremely cringe-worthy, heavy-handed dialogue, "Mile 22" is not a complete disaster. We didn't expect much more from this than a mindless, chaotic, forgettable summer action movie, and that's precisely what we got.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.2/10
RT Rating: ~20%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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