Hot Take: If you weren’t over the Peter Berg/Mark Wahlberg machine before Mile 22, you might be now. The film’s only saving grace is Iko Uwais’s action scenes. Other than that, there’s not much to see here.
If bloodshed, bullets and Mark Wahlberg being Mark Wahlberg is your thing, you should run (not walk) to the theater to see Mile 22. Not necessarily because Mile 22 is a great movie, (It’s not!) but more importantly because it’s likely poor box office performance should see that 3,520 opening theater count drop not dwindle in the coming weeks. Directed by Peter Berg, it makes for the fourth partnership between the two and it’s easily the least entertaining flick of the quartet. Basically, Mile 22 is an awful combination of Mission: Impossible, The Accountant and the Bourne series. Wahlberg fails to even bring his best Mark Wahlberg and the supporting cast fails to add anything to the movie.
When John Malkovich first appears on screen, you quickly ask yourself, “Where has this guy been?” After a few minutes, Malkovich leaves such a bad impression that you no longer wonder why he’s basically disappeared. There’s Ronda Rousey who has made the jump from UFC to WWE and has been criticized for her lack of mic work since making the jump to the more theatrical wrestling ring. In Mile 22, Rousey is a one-dimensional, foul mouthed member of Wahlberg’s team whose acting can best be described as hollow. The only supporting character to add anything to the film is Iko Uwais who is the package that Wahlberg’s team must deliver to safety to prevent a potential terrorist attack as he holds the key to shut down a weapon of mass destruction. Ironically, Uwais’s Li Noor doesn’t need much protection as he can seemingly kick anyone’s ass that gets in his way. Uwais is a throwback to 80s and 90s action flicks but gets less screen time than necessary to carry this film failure.
The worst aspect of Mile 22 is its lazy character development. For Wahlberg’s James Silva, the expanse of his development is a yellow rubber band that he keeps snapping on his wrist. There’s a quick scene that flashes that might be a young James talking about how smart he is but there’s so many jump cuts and shaky camera footage, it’s hard to really keep up. Actually, it’s hard to care. Rousey’s character has no back story. She curses a lot. That’s about it. The actress who gets the most screen time is Lauren Cohen who plays Alice and is likely the team member Wahlberg’s character is most protective of. Alice is struggling with her life in the CIA since it takes her away from her daughter. It’s scary that Alice can’t communicate with her ex-husband through an app without cursing which the app won’t even allow. You’d think someone smart enough to be a member of a top secret military agency would be swift enough to avoid cursing in a heated moment with her ex-husband who is needling her about birthday cupcakes.
Mile 22 is a slog of a film despite it’s non-stop action. It’s a heavy 90 minutes and fails to capitalize on its greatest assets. To be fair, I’ve never been kind to Wahlberg but he’s definitely capable of more than what he delivers in Mile 22. Berg and Wahlberg will get a chance to redeem themselves, though, since they’re working on a fifth collaboration. Meanwhile, the only collaboration I’ll be looking forward to from Wahlberg is my next visit to Wahlburgers because that dude did conjure up a hell of a burger joint. On the movie side, not so much.
You still feel the vibration of Marky Mark’s acting work.
Do we really need another action flick about a top secret government operation doing top secret things to protect the world?