In the action hit MILE 22 Model patriot Mark Wahlberg plays a grumpy genius in a bad-tempered US hit squad. In our review we reveal what Peter Berg (possibly) intends to do with this and whether the whole thing is exciting.
The Plot Summary
They work outside national borders, in a world without tangible opponents. For the government, they are “ghosts” – invisible, they do all the jobs where diplomacy and military solutions fail. Elite agent James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) is summoned to the embassy of a Southeast Asian country to recover a dangerously high amount of missing radioactive material that could wipe out several major cities worldwide. When the mysterious spy Li Noor (Iko Uwais) suddenly proposes a deal to James Silva and his special unit, a nerve-wracking race against time begins. Because there is one condition for exchanging secrets: Li Noor wants to be taken out of the country as quickly as possible. This mission turns out to be highly explosive and brings numerous opponents onto the scene, who turn the route to the airport into a hot combat zone. There are only 22 miles ahead of Silva and his team…
Movie explanation of the ending
A fruitful working relationship has developed between director Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg: after “Lone Survivor”, “Deepwater Horizon” and “Boston”, the duo is now releasing their fourth film together in cinemas. It is a cooperation that is obviously based primarily on the fact that the two get along well – because “Lone Survivor” alone made a profit at the box office. Based on the sobering US figures, “Mile 22” won’t be a big economic hit either. This action thriller differs from Berg and Wahlberg’s previous collaborations in one important respect, as the three film adaptations of real events are now followed by a purely fictional production. The “Too early!” complaint that Berg and Wahlberg heard from film fans who wanted to put more distance between tragedy and cinema could not take hold. To a certain extent, “Mile 22” continues the quartet consistently. Because after the largely surprisingly sober “Deepwater Horizon”, which only slips into stupid hero worship in the final act, and the “Boston”, which is surprisingly free of patriotic pathos, “Mile 22” is a dirty, American-critical affair. Even if the convoluted script by writer Lea Carpenter sometimes conceals this attitude. The result is a film that partly seems like Peter Berg’s reckoning with hurray-patriotic actioners (and thus also with his “Lone Survivor”) and partly like a passable entry in the action subgenre “It’s shown on Sundays on ProSieben after the mega blockbuster and can be “It’s quite pleasant to watch at the same time.”
Bishop (John Malkovich) and his special unit.
The focus of the film is James Silva (Mark Wahlberg), part of a US special unit called Overwatch. This is basically the dirty, less stunt-oriented counterpart to the IMF from the “Mission: Impossible” films. When diplomacy and espionage fail, this hard-line task force comes into play – whose existence is denied by the government should anything go wrong. Silva is highly talented, a gun nut and has the interpersonal sensitivity of a sourpuss who was raised by Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock. He and his team, which also includes the constantly cursing Alice Kerr (“The Walking Dead” actress Lauren Cohan) and the combative Sam Snow (Ronda Rousey, “The Expendables 3”) are given a hairy assignment by ‘Mother’ (John Malkovich): they are supposed to transport a defector (“The Raid” star Iko Uwais) from the US embassy to the airport in a Southeast Asian metropolis. However, there are plenty of hit squads along the 22-mile route, just waiting to take out the defector and/or the Overwatch agents. Peter Berg stages this with rough harshness, brightly placed spikes of violence and in a grayish, semi-realistic look. Jacques Jouffret’s camerawork is excessively shaky at times, and the editing team (Colby Parker Jr. and Melissa Lawson Cheung) occasionally dares to chop up the impressive fight choreographies with which Uwais fights his way through the action. But whenever Berg puts the brakes on a little and doesn’t take the directing motto “In the middle of it, not just there” too literally, “Mile 22” develops a robust, wiry energy.
However, the premise, which is reminiscent of “16 Blocks,” only makes up part of the 94 minutes of the film. After a somewhat more clearly staged, exciting prologue, “Mile 22” initially stalls and introduces Lauren Cohan’s character in detail, only to lose sight of her later anyway. Although “Mile 22” is already comparatively short, a few more minutes of film between the prologue and the introduction of Uwais’ role could have been sacrificed to tighten up the material. What’s more fascinating anyway is the attitude of the film that has already been touched upon. Because Mark Wahlberg’s decidedly obnoxious, know-it-all protagonist, who repeatedly falls into self-absorbed monologues and treats everyone like dirt, seems like a conscious deconstruction. This aspect is somewhat blurred by the film’s convoluted narrative style, which seemingly arbitrarily interrupts the narrative flow for interview passages with James Silva. And the amused, proud way in which Malkovich’s ‘Mother’, captured on camera, sums up the work of Overwatch somewhat contradicts the American-critical approach of “Mile 22”.
Mark Wahlberg is once again playing the lead role in an action film for director Peter Berg.
Nevertheless, it is striking how often this action thriller takes detours that cast doubt on the infallibility of the main characters. One scene shows Silva interrupting an IT technician at work to ask her how far she is in decrypting urgent data. When she gives information about her race against time that Silva doesn’t like, he launches into a long, miserable tirade in which he questions her intellect as well as the meaning of her profession. Shortly afterwards, Berg cuts to Uwais, who is holding a sign into a surveillance camera with the message: “You are wasting time!” Elsewhere, Wahlberg complains to an agent from the other side, describing him as a disgusting, spiteful person who deals with dirty things Means works – and then Silva grins and admits that he is just like him. And the subplot about Alice’s choice of words causing her more family problems than her actions can also be understood as an attack on American sentiment, as a ‘fuck’ in a movie is considered more shocking there than constant gun violence. Such scenes, no matter how intentional their message may be, greatly enhance the rough thriller “Mile 22” as they strengthen its dirty, harsh worldview. The fact that Berg and Carpenter almost conceal these moments through the structure and staging of the film and let them get lost in the chaos of the action is slightly regrettable. What’s really annoying, on the other hand, is the aggressive craving for a sequel at the very end of this action thriller, which is provided with a booming soundtrack by composer Jeff Russo. As a stand-alone film, “Mile 22” would have the potential to be a genre fan insider tip, but as a franchise start that will probably fail, “Mile 22” is out of place in the action arena.
Conclusion: “Mile 22” is smarter than you might think. On the other hand, it is unfortunate that the rough action tumult results in a bit of idleness despite the short running time.
“Mile 22” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from September 13th.