Plot: A squad of elite operatives stormed a stronghold and hoped to regain some stolen cesium, but that wasn’t the end of the mission. James (Mark Wahlberg) was part of the squad and he is now irate, as new intel has come in that reveals multiple cesium stashes remain, so the operation wasn’t what the team had hoped. Now a rogue police officer Li (Iko Uwais) has offered the locations of the remaining caches in exchange for transport out of the country, so James and his team are assigned to the task. After it becomes clear he is telling the truth and local forces have no intentions to just allow Li to leave, what should be a standard transport mission becomes much more dangerous. Can James and his squad safely move Li, track down the rest of the cesium, and avert yet another crisis, or is there more to the situation than they realize?
Entertainment Value: This one is a total mess, with a forgettable narrative and some of the worst action scenes I’ve ever witnessed. The story is basic “elite squad on a tense mission” kind of stuff, but Mile 22 never lets the story breathe or develop, opting instead to focus on Mark Wahlberg’s weak performance and action sequences that refuse to let you have any idea of what is going on. Iko Uwais is on board, which means the action scenes should be epic by default, but Mile 22 chooses to cut the action every half second and never let the camera showcase the action, which means things are just a blur and never make much sense. This seems like such a poor decision, as Uwais is action gold and some of the set pieces seem cool, but the movie just refuses to let the action shine and that’s a shame. As the action is a soggy mess, we are left with a warmed over story that has no hook and can be a chore to sit through. I appreciated how mean spirited and nasty the movie can be, but it does nothing with that hard edged tone. I found Mile 22 to be a total waste that lets some good potential slide down the drain, so unless you’re a diehard Wahlberg fan, skip this clunker.
This is a vehicle for Mark Wahlberg and while he is given a mildly interesting role to work with, he treats it like an SNL skit and delivers a laughable, melodramatic effort that tanks the serious tone. I did like how the writers make no attempt at a likable lead role, which means Wahlberg’s lack of charisma is never an issue, but he just fails to make the most of the mean spirited character. He seems to think shouting is the same as being an aggressive, on edge persona, so he just yells and snaps his rubber band, which could be a fun drinking game if the movie wasn’t such a bore. He stumbles through the role and adds nothing besides some light unintentional humor, as he plays the tough guy like a salty dork. Iko Uwais could have saved Mile 22, but his action feats are sliced to ribbons by the editors and that’s a shame, as he acts circles around Wahlberg and could have really elevated the movie. The cast here also includes Lauren Cohan, Ronda Rousey, John Malkovich, and Terry Kinney.
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