Mile 22 (M18)
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Iko Uwais, John Malkovich
Directed by Peter Berg
Mile 22 is like the R-rated version of Mission: Impossible, filled with blistering pyrotechnics, liberal blood splatter and incessant swearing. Here, the answer to the covert special ops unit IMF is the Overwatch and Mark Wahlberg is its unapologetically rude, blunt and hot-tempered leader James Silva, who’s basically the psychotic version of Ethan Hunt. The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan and MMA pugilist Ronda Rousey co-star as Overwatch members who have to put up with Silva’s ball-busting.
Stationed in the fictional South-east Asian country of Indocarr (filmed in Bogota, Colombia), Silva & Co. are assigned to escort a high-value informant (Indonesian action star Iko Uwais) for extraction at an airstrip 22 miles (or 35km) from the American embassy. Getting in their way are assorted armed-to-the-teeth baddies.
From here on, the movie plays like one lengthy sequence reminiscent of the ambush set piece in Clear and Present Danger, with Silva fending off attackers from all sides. Elsewhere, a team of surveillance experts (among them is former 2NE1 singer CL) uses drones to guide Silva’s team to their destination. Video gamers will enjoy those techie scenes.
For an action flick, however, the onscreen mayhem is a bit of a mixed-bag. Director Peter Berg (The Kingdom) is proficient at staging sequences involving firearms and tactical movements, but the stuff he does with Uwais is a major letdown.
If you’ve seen Uwais’ breakout hit The Raid (don’t worry if you haven’t, Berg throws in a mini-remake towards the end), you know he is badass and his kicks and punches are beautiful to look at.
But here, Berg does him a great disservice by shooting his fight scenes The Bourne Identity way — chaotic, over-edited and confusing as hell. Fast and furious isn’t always a good thing. (**1/2)
Photo: Golden Village/STX Films