‘Mile 22’ review: Dazed and confused

A still from ‘Mile 22’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

There’s a line in Mile 22 during an interrogation where a female character asks, “Do you think because I’m a woman, I’m incapable of violence?” It would be an effective and even powerful statement if the film made a sliver of an attempt to address gender in any form. So the question just hangs there suspended in futility, moreover because of a lack of any follow-up whatsoever. This occurs well into the film and pretty much sums up the essence of Peter Berg’s action thriller. All we know by then is that James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) leads an elite paramilitary operations team that acts independently as a last resort to address terrorism. In this case, it’s caesium, a chemical with the potential for mass destruction, which is being stored at unknown locations all over the world. Silva and his team have to extract their source, Li Noor (Iko Uwais) from Indocarr (a fictional Asian country) after getting him to reveal a code that will divulge the locations for the hidden caesium.

Mile 22
  • Director: Peter Berg
  • Cast: Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, Ronda Rousey
  • Storyline: Jame Silva and his team of elite paramilitary forces have to transport their source to America in order to save the world from caesium’s destructive powers.

While the overarching knight-in-shining-armour premise steers Mile 22’s narrative, there’s an incredibly confusing amount of disparate storylines unravelling. One narrative thread is Silva’s mental disorder. The highly gifted agent, as is waxed eloquent during the opening credits, is severely unbalanced. He’s called bipolar, manic-depressive, narcissistic and then just plainly “an asshole”. Silva’s angry tirades are hurled at everyone from his own subordinates to random strangers. Strangely no one seems to flinch a muscle at his steady onslaught which gets weary to watch after the millionth time. Then there’s his team member Alice’s (Lauren Cohan) divorce woes which includes a shady and shameless attempt at advertising an app.

The only saving grace then is Uwais’ brilliant but brief hand-to-hand combat with all the excitement and thrill of a UFC match. Inexplicably, Ronda Rousey (a mixed martial artist in real life) who plays Sam, part of Silva’s team, has little to no action scenes. Though the gunplay and obscene body count often gets tiresome, it does have some worthy action moments.

Mile 22 is director Berg’s third collaboration with Wahlberg after Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. While their partnership has yielded better results in the past, the latest is a chaotic and confusing attempt at a slick action blockbuster. The worst part of it, is that the duo has already announced the film is the first of a trilogy.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 7:10:40 PM |

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