Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Lea Carpenter
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, John Malkovich, Ronda Rousey
Release date: August 17, 2018
Hi! So you’re interested in going to the movies this weekend, but you don’t know what to see. You do like action movies. So do you wanna see an action movie with good performances, good direction, thrills, a decent plot to carry it, likable characters, and creative action set pieces? You do? Well then don’t see Mile 22 because it has the exact opposite of all the things I just mentioned.
Mile 22 is the latest Peter Berg/Mark Wahlberg outing after Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. I haven’t seen Lone Survivor, but I have seen the other two. This is by far the worst of the three that I’ve seen. Mile 22 is about a covert group of military operatives known as “Overwatch” (insert Overwatch video game reference/joke here). They’re the option when all other options fail. They do the dirty jobs that would get other agencies in front of Congress. Their latest mission is to extract an Indonesian police officer played by Iko Uwais out of the country, in exchange for information concerning cesium shipments, a toxic weapon that can cause Hiroshima levels of death. It becomes clear that Uwais is more than just a police officer, as the Indonesian government sends its own men after Overwatch to get him back. Also he’s a very good martial artist.
The biggest sin of Mile 22 is that there is not a single character that is even remotely worth caring about. All of them are cardboards with little backstory, and the backstories we do get are completely cliched. Mark Wahlberg’s character is a complete tool who pretty much plows his way through the film with almost no injuries or setbacks, and goes on these obnoxious, pretentious monologues that an edgy 14 year old who just discovered politics would be embarrassed by. Lauren Cohan’s character has a daughter and is a divorcee and apparently that’s enough to make us be concerned when she’s in danger. The one character that comes close to being interesting is Iko Uwais’, who is subject to a completely idiotic twist at the last moment. There are no interesting or likable characters, and I didn’t raise anything more than a shrug when someone ended up dead.
The plot of this film is just boring as its characters. It is totally by the numbers for pretty much its entire runtime. As mentioned earlier the only interesting plot developments come around the end, but they’re also stupid and out of left field. The way this movie ends is also just insulting. It ends on a cliffhanger clearly telegraphing a sequel. Do the research and you’ll learn that this is meant to be the start of a multimedia franchise, with said sequel already in development. Yeah, given the critical thrashing it’s received and the low box office receipts, those plans won’t last. At least with only a 94 minute length, I wasn’t bored for too long.
But hey, it’s an action movie. Maybe the plot and characters are bad but at least the action is good right? Nope. The action in this movie consists of quick cuts, shaky cam, and other tricks to make sure you are unable to see or enjoy anything that is going on. This is especially bad when you have Iko Uwais doing impressive martial arts during his action scenes. They’d be even more impressive if I could see what’s going on movie! The R-rating means that there’s at least an extra level of blood and graphic violence, so I guess that’s something that people can get a kick out of. If this was a PG-13 action movie it wouldn’t even have that going for it.
The acting and dialogue in this movie ranges from dull to comical. Wahlberg and John Malkovich don’t seem to be even trying. Ronda Rousey doesn’t even have a performance in this, much less a good one. She doesn’t even have a lazy one. The only two people who seemed to be doing the best with what they’re given are Lauren Cohan and Iko Uwais. As for the dialogue, it’s so edgy at times it can cut through rocks. F bombs and countless profanities are in the script in a desperate attempt to come across as mature. As mentioned before, Wahlberg’s character goes on pseudo-intellectual monologues that the film thinks are deep. Sorry, but they’re as shallow as a puddle. Luckily, they sometimes manage to cross the line into humorous territory. Not intentionally mind you, but hey take what you can get.
Anything else I forgot to mention? Well I don’t remember the score so that can’t be good.
This is easily the worst movie I’ve seen so far this year. It’s not outrageously terrible, but it is just such a cynical waste of potential. There are talented people involved in this. Peter Berg is a talented director, Mark Wahlberg is a talented actor. If it was more focused on being a good movie instead of setting up a franchise it hasn’t done anything to earn, and tried to be at least a little more creative, it could’ve been good. Instead, what we’re left with is just a boring, sub par action film that wants to start a franchise, but will most likely be forgotten about in a couple of weeks. It is a failure on all fronts and should be skipped. Go see Mission: Impossible-Fallout instead. That’s a good action movie with likable characters, a decent plot, and creative action set pieces.