Mile 22: Review

Mile 22
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In our editorial office, we have a fondness for Peter Berg, the director behind titles like Welcome to the Jungle and Battleship, as well as collaborations with Mark Wahlberg like Lone Survivor, Deep Water Horizon, and Patriots’ Day. Although most of these projects were commercially unsuccessful, they served as platforms for Wahlberg to elevate his acting. Perhaps that’s why the duo decided to shift gears with Mile 22, venturing into a genre filled with armed professionals—a sort of free adaptation of Call of Duty.

Mile 22 starts off with promise, but any associations with films like The Kingdom, Bourne, or Mission: Impossible quickly fade away. Under the remote guidance of John Malkovich, Wahlberg and his elite team embark on a high-stakes mission. Yet, the world-building around spy organizations and shadowy professionals is over within ten minutes. The opening scene sets a high-octane tone, but it’s clear that characterization isn’t Berg’s primary concern in this film. Unlike The Kingdom, which balanced action with elements of a detective story, Mile 22 is a full-throttle ride with little emotional depth. The only exception is Lauren Cohan of The Walking Dead fame, who has a somewhat developed emotional arc.

The film becomes frustrating to watch as Berg’s craftsmanship is drowned out by incessant fight scenes. Adding Iko Uwais as a mysterious agent with an encrypted USB doesn’t help. Although it makes for exciting combat sequences, it limits the scope for the other characters. The plot boils down to Wahlberg’s team needing to get Uwais and his USB stick to an American plane to prevent a nuclear catastrophe—a storyline reminiscent of films like 16 Blocks or Iron Grip.

The relentless pacing leaves no room for character development. As a result, we’re presented with a crew of infallible government agents who are hard to root for. Wahlberg, however, tries to transcend this limitation with a dedicated performance, albeit one that seems slightly forced.

The most significant issue is the film’s departure from Berg’s earlier works that focused on American heroism. Here, we see a battle between two secret services willing to sacrifice their own. While one side is outnumbered and the other speaks English, that isn’t enough to garner significant sympathy from the audience.

In the end, Mile 22 feels like an empty shell. Despite Berg’s efforts to infuse the film with high-quality action scenes, the lack of a compelling story and charismatic heroes makes it forgettable. Even the plot twists in the last five minutes feel rushed and fail to tie the movie together coherently. It’s surprising that Berg would approve such a hollow script. Wahlberg has the potential to be a B-level Bourne, but this attempt falls flat, coming off more like Gerard Butler’s forgettable The Perfect Heist. While the film might spawn a sequel, it certainly won’t be a hit.

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