Mile 22 takes the extremely talented Iko Uwais and puts him in a clichéd story with terrible editing that hides his skills as a fighter.
Director: Peter Berg
Summary: An elite American intelligence officer, aided by a top-secret tactical command unit, tries to smuggle a mysterious police officer with sensitive information out of the country.
Have you seen The Raid: Redemption? What about The Raid 2? If you answered “no” to either one of those questions, you should go fix that immediately. They are Indonesian action movies that came out in 2011 and 2014, respectively, and that’s how Western audiences were introduced to Iko Uwais. It seems that director Peter Berg watched these movies at some point, because Uwais’s role in Mile 22 is remarkably similar. But unlike director Gareth Evans, who directed the two Raid movies, he has no idea how to take advantage of Uwais’s incredible talent as a fighter.
Instead of giving us a wide shot so we can see Uwais’s entire body and the body of his opponent then making minimal cuts as the scene progresses, Berg does the opposite. Far too many cuts make the action incoherent, and then he zooms in so far that you can’t see any of the moves Uwais is making.
This is not to say that Uwais is the only person in this movie, granted. Mark Wahlberg is on hand to play a genius secret operative who acts like a total asshole all the time, but he’s good at his job so everyone just lets him get away with it. Wahlberg is not an intimidating person, and him trying to look badass with his earnest face is funny.
The story all of this messiness is around isn’t even that original. There is a framing device that keeps popping in during the movie as Wahlberg expositions the heck out of the plot and goes on and on about warfare and how no one has any idea what it’s really like. This adds nothing to the plot of the movie aside from showing the twist a bit too early by the end. The framing device, which quite clearly shows Wahlberg alive and well, sucks all of the tension out of the room. This isn’t a story where the character is shown alive post-action in the beginning and by the middle you might have forgotten that you know he survives. Instead it keeps popping in and out to remind you, constantly, that if this character is nearby, no one is getting blown up. He’s not getting shot, and it renders everything boring and pointless.
The movie goes out of its way to set up different team members with different stories and personalities but kills them all off before they can do anything remotely interesting. There isn’t a single memorable set piece or action scene that we haven’t seen before. It sets up a sequel, which seems very optimistic considering these are not interesting characters at all. However, unlike Berg’s last movie, this one isn’t even rage inducing. It’s just boring.
Mile 22 isn’t Berg or Wahlberg’s worst movie by a long shot, but it is a terrible waste of Uwais as one of the best action stars and a waste of everyone’s time. The only good thing that could come out of this movie is that more people might look up The Raid.
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