Mile 22 comes across as a real missed opportunity. The last three films that Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg collaborated on (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, Patriot’s Day) have all been fantastic. This one also pairs the duo up with the now legendary Indonesian action star Iko Uwais (The Raid films). I personally think Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead) is great too and who doesn’t love some John Malkovich? It seems to have all the ingredients, but unfortunately it lacks any real substance or depth and is so frantic in its pacing that you don’t care much for the characters.
Mark Wahlberg plays James Silva, a top CIA operative who leads an elite team to infiltrate a Russian safe house in the US. Their mission is to find and destroy the highly toxic substance cesium before it can be weaponized to kill thousands of people. The team kills everyone in the safe house, including an 18 year old boy who falls out the window that Silva executes before the team escapes.Over a year later, Silva, Alice (Lauren Cohan), Sam (Ronda Rousey), and the rest of the team are in Indonesia still trying to locate the cesium. Li Noor (Iko Uwais), an Indonesian police officer, turns himself into the US embassy to negotiate safe passage out of the country to the US. In exchange for this safe passage, he will give them a code to unlock a disc that has the location of the remaining cesium. The only way to get him out of the country is to get him to an airplane 22 miles away. Silva and his team agree to do it in exchange for the code. The Indonesian Intelligence Agency wants Noor dead and will stop at nothing to get it done, so it makes getting out of Indonesia a nearly impossible task.Mixed in with this are Alice’s family problems and Silva’s own issues of being too invested in the job and a bit of a loose cannon. The problem is that neither of these matters are developed deeply enough, and I found Silva to be a bit of an annoying character. He wasn’t a likable lead. I liked Alice more than Silva. Malkovich, playing supervisor James Bishop, also wasn’t a particularly interesting character in this. Cohan and Uwais definitely had the best roles.
The action itself is pretty good. Uwais has a few great scenes, one when Indonesian intelligence officers attempt to assassinate him in the US embassy, as well as a few others later in the film. There is a ton of gunfire throughout – the action essentially doesn’t stop. In that regard, there are definitely fun moments, but it’s so frenetic that sometimes you get lost in it all. The plot is a bit confusing and jumbled, and it just sort of rolls along without any major investment for the viewer. There are a couple twists and turns along the way, but I can’t say that they really gripped me or surprised me the way I believe Berg wanted them to.All in all, the film is just a bit of a miss unfortunately. Uwais deserved better for his first large role in an American film as he’s very talented. A better script, better characters, better pacing, and some meatier action scenes could have changed this film from a mediocre film to a really good one. Unfortunately, the pieces did not add up to a great whole and we’re left with a disappointing end result. Here’s to hoping the next Berg-Wahlberg collaboration gets the dynamic duo back on track.