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Blu-ray Review: Mile 22

November 13, 2018

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

Directed by Peter Berg, in his fourth collaboration with Mark Wahlberg following their trio of true life dramas Patriot’s Day, Deepwater Horizon and Lone Survivor, Mile 22 is a generic action thriller that presents a real step down for both the filmmaker and star.

The film opens with a team of agents including James Silva (Wahlberg), Alice Kerr (Lauren Cohan), William Douglas (Carlo Alban) and Sam Snow (Ronda Rousey), who work for an elite paramilitary ground unit of the CIA known as Overwatch, infiltrating a safe house for Russian FSB agents that they believe is being used to store large quantities of the chemical element caesium.

When the operation goes awry due to a bad lead, they move their operations to Indonesia. Cut to sixteen months later, and a local police officer named Li Noor (Iko Uwais) surrenders himself at the United States Embassy with a disc that includes crucial information regarding the location of the caesium. But the disc is locked, and he agrees to only give up the password in exchange for asylum in the United States. The Overwatch agents proceed to organize a way to smuggle him out of the country and get him safely to an airbase 22 miles away, but it’s a risky operation with other government agents hot on their trail.

If it wasn’t for the theatrical run that Mile 22 received back in August, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a straight-to-DVD movie. Despite the presence of a genuine movie star like Wahlberg in the lead, this is an incredibly mediocre film that has been edited within an inch of its life, with action scenes that are often hard to follow because of the choppy cuts, and underdeveloped characters that are hard to really care about, let alone become invested in.

It’s revealed in the opening credits sequence, which offers an overly rushed backstory, that Wahlberg’s character is neurologically different, and he keeps a rubber band around his wrist that he pulls back and snaps to stop his mind from racing. But the film doesn’t give him enough room to properly develop this trait, and the script seems disinterested in offering a deeper exploration of what could have been a really fascinating character. The plot is muddled, only offering the bare minimum amount of explanation that is needed to string the various set-pieces together, which makes it hard to keep up with what is even going on at certain points.

There are flashes here of what could have been a more interesting movie, and Iko Uwais does get to show off his impressive fighting skills at certain points, but Mile 22 is ultimately too disjointed and poorly assembled for it to work. It clocks in at just under ninety minutes to credits, and while I respect the choice to keep it short, the film also feels like it has been hacked down from a longer cut with little thought for continuity or character development, and it just sort of careens between action sequences without any real flow or connective tissue to make any of it really stick.

The Blu-ray also includes the six brief featurettes Overwatch, Groundbranch, Introducing Iko Uwais, Stunts, Iko Fight and Modern Combat, as well as cast interviews from the film’s Los Angeles premiere, a selection of soundbites, and some B-roll footage from the various fight scenes.

Mile 22 is a VVS Films release. It’s 94 minutes and rated 14A.

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