Mark Wahlberg’s elite veteran soldier, James Silva, is now part of the CIA’s Ground Branch group, a shadowy black ops team that swoop in to take control of dangerous situations when all other options have failed. His team are tasked with escorting defector Lo Noor on a 22 mile journey to safety.
Noor is the only person that knows where a very nasty explosive known as “fear powder” is hidden, but he’ll only reveal its whereabouts once he’s enjoying his complimentary nuts and leaving on a jet plane. Attempting to stop him are Noor’s own Government, who see him as a traitor, whilst he’s also being tracked by some Russians for reasons unknown.
What follows is a slightly slow build up to a relentless finale and popcorn entertainment just about wins the day over a clichéd and gung-ho script.
Wahlberg’s fast talking, hotheaded, no nonsense act has been seen before, The Departed, but this time he’s virtually impossible to root for not just because of the awful dialogue he’s given, but also because he’s simply a jerk. His short fuse is lit by everyone he talks to and he takes his anger issues out on anyone and anything. Even a birthday cake isn’t safe from his temper tantrums. He wears a yellow rubber band around his wrist which he flicks all too often attempting to calm his demons, achieving nothing but raising the irritability stakes.
The supporting cast all do their jobs well, including a standout turn from John Malkovich’s spectacular toupee, but there isn’t enough time to get to know any of them. An attempt to tug at the heartstrings involving Lauren Cohan’s Alice doesn’t hit the mark and it’s hard to empathise with any of the one dimensional ensemble.
Director Peter Berg, a regular Wahlberg collaborator, creates some standout set-pieces, including the opening raid and a brutal hospital fight, but much of the film is inane shoot-outs and chases with the action hard to follow because of disjointed editing.
Coming in at just over 90 minutes, Mile 22 is a dark and dirty thriller that entertains in places, but with a better script it could’ve gone the whole nine yards.
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