#REVIEW: “MILE 22”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Jimmy Silva (Mark Wahlberg) is an eccentric paramilitary operative leading the CIA’s most elite and highly classified unit. When informant Li Noor (Iko Uwais, of The Raid series) appears at an American embassy, he claims to have a disk of information that may avert multiple chemical attacks – but demands sanctuary in the U.S. before he gives the password to unlock it. The closest exit is an airfield 22 miles away, and an angry group of assassins stand in the way of Silva and his team getting Noor extracted.
After a lengthy prologue, Mile 22 proceeds rapidly to put all its pieces in place for the third act race across the non-descript Asian city. Director Peter Berg (in his fourth collaboration with Wahlberg) does a great job staging the action in many of these moments, and an even better job setting the frantic pace. It does not leave much room to develop these characters, but considering how mysterious the team is, that may be the point. Berg also succeeds at amping-up the level of violence in viciously brutal ways, delivering some of the bloodiest action scenes of the summer. His most wise decision however, is letting Uwais do what he does best – kick ass and destroy anyone who gets in his way.
While the Film’s dialogue is far from Shakespearean (John Malkovich gets saddled with increasingly-awful lines rivaled only by his hysterically bad hair piece), the editing is what really brings down Mile 22. The Film clocks in at 95-minutes, but each moment is basically cut to oblivion. It does not matter whether it is an exposition heavy scene or an action scene, they are all treated equally as jumpy as each other. It gets so bad in some moments that everything on-screen becomes completely indecipherable, effectively ruining some of the Film’s key action scenes. It also has drastic ramifications for the franchise hopeful and genuinely abrupt ending, jumping around so quickly that the audience barely has any time to register what’s happening.
Wahlberg has perfected his action hero formula, yet his performance in Mile 22 is a bit different. He still yells, monologues and swears his face off, but he breathes a little of nuance into the proceedings (mostly care of an elastic band he continually flicks on his wrist). He even tries out an accent to mixed effect. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but it was nice to see him attempt something vaguely different. Lauren Cohan does well here, proving that she can command a bigger screen without the aid of the zombies on The Walking Dead. She makes the best with what she’s given, and is one of the Film’s few bad ass bright spots. But Uwais is the Film’s standout performance, his first in a mainstream American film. He has a quiet and mysterious presence throughout, only showing his hand in the Film’s ferocious action sequences. Anytime he appears on screen, you will not be able to take your eyes off him and will wait with great anticipation every time to see what he does next.
Mile 22 is a messy Action film that mostly delivers on its fight scenes and vicious violence, but not much else. The majority of the Cast do not get much to do and the editing is increasingly aggravating. If Wahlberg and Berg are successful at turning this into a franchise, they would benefit greatly from finding a better editor for Part 2.
VVS Films releasse MILE 22 on Friday, August 17, 2018.