Mile 22 doesn’t shy away from the clichéd thriller tropes but the film’s humor plays to the strengths of Mark Wahlberg and Lauren Cohan.
A quick prologue at a Russian safe house paves way for the ultimate action in Indocarr in Southeast Asia. This is where a CIA team led by a super-focused James “Jimmy” Silva (Mark Wahlberg) is now stationed. They are in charge of making sure an asset, Indocarr Special Forces officer Li Noor (Iko Uwais) is safely extracted some 22 miles away. Partnered with Alice Kerr (Lauren Cohan, the Ground Watch team never truly recovers from a botched operation seen during the film’s cold open. Other team members include Samantha “Sam” Snow (Ronda Rousey) and William Douglas III (Carlo Alban).
Silva’s commanding officer Johnny Porter (Terry Kinney) is very clear with instructions. He wants to prevent the next major terrorist attack by finding the missing Cesium. Porter doesn’t want to be the person who “the single largest intelligence fumble since a flight instruction school in Florida failed to grasp the significance of a 19-year old terrorist saying he didn’t need to learn how to land.”
Moving Noor is easier said than done, right? With an assassination attempt on his life within the U.S. Embassy’s custody, they move quick but trouble still follows. Everyone in Indocarr wants him dead. It’s because of this that Bishop (John Malkovich) is forced to place Overwatch into operation. It’s the high-tech of high-tech as Silva’s team now become Ghosts. They are no longer employees once Overwatch comes into play. If diplomacy and the military don’t work out, they are the only option.
Silva does what he can in hopes of saving the asset but also his colleagues. When they are working together, they are a real-life superhero team with everyone adding something different. None of them are the types to go down without a fight. The asset is the only person who can unlock the code before it’s too late. It comes with a catch that he’s safely in U.S. custody before doing so. The CIA needs the code in order to prevent more destructive attacks on American soil.
Unbeknownst to the Americans and Indocarr forces, the Russians are also involved. They’re secretly listening in on the Overwatch operation. Can we really be surprised at this point? It’s so topical to what’s currently happening–what with the election hacking and collusion. But wait, there’s more…
Jimmy and Alice could be some sort of odd couple. Where he’s super focused on doing his job, the divorced Alice is also worried about her daughter. She doesn’t like having to lie about her work and why she can’t be there for her family. The whole co-parenting thing with her husband (Peter Berg) and his new wife is not fun at all for Alice. Their whole working relationship could be ideal for a film within its own right. Never mind all the action, just watching these two on mundane missions sound cool enough on spec.
Having worked with actor Mark Wahlberg for so long, director Peter Berg knows his strengths and weaknesses. This relationship works to their benefit in Mile 22. The film manages to even play up some of the humor that Wahlberg has become known for over the years. The set pieces are so intense but Uwais gets to show off some of his best skills while doing so. Yet a major cliché moment comes when they are at the airfield and their opponent is standing in the way. What else to do but save the time…whatever works, I suppose.
Lea Carpenter’s script does fall into some problems of genre tropes. This is offset by the strong female characters like Alice and Sam. These women are every much the equal to men in the film. Where you have someone like Silva, Alice is able to quickly put him in check. Carpenter will certainly be a writer to watch over the years.
An intense, action-packed thriller from director Peter Berg, Mile 22‘s biggest fault is not shying away from genre tropes. To say that the film’s climactic twist isn’t surprising would be an understatement. Among cinematic twists, it’s somewhere among the worst ever. I won’t say too much about it other than you’ll know when it happens. That they are able to do so with a very humorous way doesn’t help.
DIRECTOR: Peter Berg
SCREENWRITERS: Lea Carpenter
CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, Ronda Rousey and John Malkovich