I can’t even tell whether I’m watching a trailer or some guys playing “Call of Duty.” Despite being directed by the talented Peter Berg, “Mile 22” decides to play Michael Bay by relying on bullets, stabbings, one-liners, quick shot editing, and explosions, all crammed in a short time line of 95 minutes.
Mark Wahlberg reunites with Berg (following “Lone Survivor,” “Deepwater Horizon,” and “Patriot’s Day”) as James Silva, an obnoxious, autistic, and rude CIA operative, whose command unit knows about some stolen deadly powder, capable of destroying several countries. At least I think so, because I can barely read the movie based on its one-liners and wall-to-wall violence.
In Southeast Asia, they end up detaining an ex-cop-turned government traitor named Li Noor (Iko Uwais from “The Raid” movies), who has the information about the whereabouts of the stolen weapons on a disc, which begins to eat itself up. He agrees to give them the code if they get him out of the country. And being that he is wanted by assassins, they have no choice.
The cast of the hero’s command unit also includes Lauren Cohen as a mother, who has issues at home, which I have no idea what, Rhonda Rousey, who gets attacked by Li Noor’s assassins, and has to use grenades to kill two of them, and John Malkovich as the leader, who only provides one-liners. They’re all fine talents in wasted roles. They don’t have any stories, they don’t have any ambitions, and the mindless action overshadows them.
Back to the “autistic” thing. Being an autistic film critic, I always find it interesting when movies (like “The Accountant,” “Tully,” or “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”) add autistic people (or at least on the spectrum) in the mix. And I was surprised to know that Wahlberg would be playing that type of character, especially when he snaps a rubber yellow bracelet on his arm, as a way of easing his tensions. But again, the mindless action overshadows him. He has no character in him, just yelling, and stressful stubbornness that not even the characters can take. In his agency, they praise his work, but not his character.
I was having an extremely difficult time watching “Mile 22.” The editing keeps changing and changing and changing, as if we were watching a trailer, and that loses your focus the minute you get through the first 15 minutes. And back to the whole “crammed in 95 minutes” thing, apparently the movie wanted to be short, I guess, as a way of starting a franchise. Either that or people are tired of long movies. This kind of fiasco will lead to a dismal future for movie goers.
It’s one of the year’s biggest disappointments, and I really love Wahlberg and Berg.