The powerhouse team of director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg have reunited once again after being on a hot streak with a great trio of films with Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. Sadly, what we’ve ended up with is a cobbled-together action thriller that takes itself way too seriously but comes across as totally inept with some bad editing and some of the most unlikeable characters seen in any recent film.
The film’s tone is very off-kilter as it has no idea if it wants to be a straight up action movie or a serious political espionage thriller and in trying to mesh those two things, you have a severe clashing of ideas. It’s constantly trying to sound more insightful than it actually and frankly, it would’ve been for the best if Berg and screenwriter Lea Carpenter just done away with the politics entirely. Just as bad is the sporadic editing where nothing is cohesive, nothing feels fluid, instead looking choppy as hell making it a real chore to have any form of patience while watching.
You even lose patience with the characters, especially Mark Wahlberg’s who acts like an arrogant jerk throughout without any shred of remorse or compassion. Sure, it’s stated that he’s this sort of unhinged genius but that never comes across on screen, and instead of being a hardcore badass, he’s simply just an ass and this is the guy you’re meant to be rooting for. Also, you begin to question why it is anyone would work with this guy giving his volatile attitude towards everyone. John Malkovich turns up with an obvious toupee to say some lines and collect his pay cheque, while poor Lauren Cohan is given nothing to do other than to look scowly-faced all the way through. Only the super-talented Iko Uwais of The Raid fame comes out of this unscathed, and so too does Ronda Rousey even though she’s sorely under-utilised in a thankless role.
In the end, Mile 22 is nothing more than a straight-to-DVD release that somehow managed to gain a theatrical run. It could’ve just have been an enjoyable, stylish action movie that might’ve been done in a cheesy-good kind of way, but instead, it doesn’t feel unique enough to give filmgoers what they’re looking for, and the majority of it is boring as all hell. The story is severely undercooked with a lot plot points that come across as laughably ridiculous, the editing is sporadic, and all of the characters come across as annoying, one-dimensional cartoon characters that constantly yell all the time as means of sounding impressive. It’s clear that Berg was trying to make the film more serious and deep than it actually is, so it just looks embarrassing as a result. Some of the action choreography is impressive enough, but what does that matter when the editing is incredibly choppy or when there’s absolutely no substance or fun to back it up?
Dir: Peter Berg
Scr: Lea Carpenter
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, Ronda Rousey, Sam Medina
Prd: Peter Berg, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson
DOP: Jacques Jouffret
Music: Jeff Russo
Run time: 94 mins
Mile 22 is out now on Blu-Ray and DVD.