Mile 22’s story follows an “off the books” CIA task force that must escort a defecting “low level” cop out of Southeast Asia. In exchange for sanctuary in the United States from a government driven to capture him, the now “High Level Asset” will reveal locations of a deadly substance that can be used in terror attacks as long as he makes it out of the country. There really isn’t much else to it.
Strangely, there was the lack of a 2nd act. Mile 22 is very straightforward in what it is about. It doesn’t follow the standard Beginning, Middle, and End story structure that all movies have. Before I knew it, we were on our way to the big action set piece, a 22 mile stretch of road between the U.S Embassy and the airfield extraction point were a 10 minute window is the only opening the team has to complete the mission. The Brisk 94 minute run time is welcomed as long as the action delivers along with a decent story, or so I thought.
I was very irritated with how just about every action shot, rather it be a gun fight or a close quarters combat fist fight was shown close up with the all too familiar “Shaky Cam” and fast edits that have plagued action movies for years. Those are the most irritating things an action movie can do. It’s an unfortunate strike against a rather action filled movie that moves at a race car pace. Editing overall was bad all throughout. Even in calm, slower moments that only exist early on in the film have you jump from one character to another in the middle of exchanging dialogue. Dialogue between characters was cringe-worthy all through the movie. The use of cuss words in every sentence from each and every character that had lines wasn’t creative and used for cheap laughs.
Iko Uwais is the only real highlight here as far as any of the performances go. As the defecting Officer Li Noor, most of his work is just to fight bad guys with his hands and various objects around him. He doesn’t have a ton of dialogue, but that cancels out in favor of his ability to fight and have some pretty brutal moments against the people trying to stop him. Uwais had a huge hand in the fight scenes behind the camera and was given a fight choreographer credit.
All performances from the veteran actors of the cast were very underwhelming. No connection between characters and the audience. Even in action movies, there has to be something that makes the audience cheer for the good guy to succeed, but that was nowhere to be found. Mark Wahlberg as the leader of the task force James Silva was very odd in terms of how he speaks with other characters. The character has a ritual of snapping a rubber band on his wrist whenever he talks to someone who seems to be not as smart as he is. It felt like he was doing an impression of himself as a hard ass know it all and pulling his dialogue cadence from old roles he had in movies like The Happening or Pain and Gain. You know, that short, seemingly out of breath dialogue that everyone reverts to when they try to mimic his delivery.
Everyone else was disposable. Lauren Cohan, Ronda Rousey and even John Malkovich were non factors, which is hard to believe as Cohan shows she can be aggressive and hold her own on The Walking Dead and Malkovich being an award winning actor through many decades. Rousey is barely in the movie.
The twist leaves the door open for a sequel, but I have a hard time making a case for Mile 23 to be made. The world building here is nonexistent. I happen to like Peter Berg’s movies, but this is a pretty big miss for someone who has a knack for directing solid movies.
- Solid performance from Iko Uwais
- The action is good if you can see it
- Fast and brisk run time on 94 minutes
- Shaky Cam and fast edits kill the movie
- performances from veteran actors
- weak writing and dialogue