“I’ve made a lot of mistakes”, the prodigious – if unstable – Michael Silva (Mark Wahlberg) snarls as he ignores his captive’s warning and “wastes him in broad daylight” at the behest of his superior. It’s a quality that the character shares with the film he leads. Mile 22 is a soulless, tediously violent, poorly plotted and badly scripted action thriller that makes a lot of mistakes.
The narrative – which is complex, without being intelligent – has several strands which are never quite tied off. Essentially, we follow Overwatch, a top-secret special ops team, led on the ground by Silva and in the control room – the location of which is “America’s most closely guarded secret” – by Bishop (John Malkovich). Filling out the ground team are Alice Kerr (Lauren Cohan), Sam Snow (Ronda Rousey) and William Douglas III (Carlo Alban).
One of Kerr’s sources and martial artist extraordinaire Li Noor (Iko Uwais) is withholding the location of a quantity of radioactive caesium-139. He wants extradition to the US, so the gang must transport him the 22 miles from the embassy in Indocarr to a landing strip. Needless to say, their biggest problem isn’t when to turn off the slip-road.
Intercut with the action is footage (and audio) of Silva’s debriefing, conducted following the events of the film. His rants, which are rambling and barely intelligible, are seemingly against government-overreach. Yes, this is the same character who shot a man point-blank under orders, happily uses drones to blow people off the face of the earth and ends the film with a threat to “see you tomorrow.” Truly, a man of principle.
The protagonist’s backstory is handled during the opening credits and is actually one of the highlights of the film – an orphaned and troubled genius whose superiors are apparently very trigger-happy with the “redacted” sharpies. Unfortunately, evidence of his genius is completely lacking in the film itself, unless you count his piercing insight that Edvard Munch was “dark as f**k.”
The script attempts rapid Sorkin-esque exchanges but often leaves Wahlberg spouting long, meaningless, incomprehensible word-association rants like a Kamikaze-era Eminem. The violence is neither light-hearted enough to be fun, nor gritty enough to be shocking.
Mile 22 is occasionally offensive (e.g. in its casual attribution of Silva’s rants to a mental health issue), but mostly it’s just difficult to follow and plain old bad.
Mile 22 is released nationwide on 19th September 2018.Watch the trailer for Mile 22 here: