Mile 22 features angry Mark Wahlberg playing James Silva, a man who spews historical facts to demonstrate the level of genius his character is in comparison to pretty much every other character that shows up in the film. I kept waiting for him to turn to the camera and begin yelling at me or the Academy of Motion Pictures, insisting that he deserves an award because he is a badass who does a ton of patriotism-infused films. While Peter Berg never has Wahlberg directly address the audience, his newest collaboration with the actor is likely the weakest of them all.
What is Mile 22 even about…
Silva has always been a genius with a bad attitude, and being orphaned as a teenager made him the perfect candidate to be American Intelligence officer for an elite group that does whatever it takes to protect the country. All of that is told to the audience through a severely forced montage in between the first mission the film opens with and the one marketed in the trailer. Silva’s team is composed of various expendables and Alice Kerr (Lauren Cohan), a mother going through a divorce and kept from her child as a result of her job.
Alice’s contact gave them a lead that turned out to be a dead end, which has put her judgement in question as a result, until that source walks up to the embassy. He is a disgruntled police officer named Li Noor (Iko Uwais) who asks for asylum to America in exchange for locations of the missing isotopes that the US has been searching for. The drive containing the information has a countdown on it that will cause it to delete all of the content until he gives the password, once he’s safe on the plane.
If you are a fan of epic fight scenes, then there is a good chance you’ve seen The Raid: Redemption. Thus, you’d be familiar with Iko Uwais and his extreme talent. Unfortunately, although Berg stages some cool action sequences to utilize Uwais, he then films and edits it so frantically that it’s hard to even see what is going during the scenes. This holds true for most of the shootout sequences as well. The camera jumps around to place emphasis on the chaos that the various agents are experiencing, but it doesn’t make for an enjoyable movie experience, nor an exciting one. It just reminds you that there are far better action movies and much better spy movies out there.
Technically, Silva falls into the category of a spy. He works off the grid, and most of his information has been redacted. The character in the film is reminiscent of Ben Affleck’s character in the Accountant. Mother, a top-secret tactical command unit led by Bishop (John Malkovich), even gets a scene where they debate what is wrong with Silva, and list a variety of mental disorders, ending with the possibility of him just simply being an asshole. Silva’s rubber band popping creates an annoying beat that breaks up the monologuing, so much so that even Malkovich’s character has to comment on the excessiveness of its use in the film.
Mile 22 is at least twenty miles too long. That’s not a comment on its runtime, as it is only an hour and a half, but it’s too much. Berg inserts scenes of Silva being interrogated about the mission that we are currently witnessing, implying that – surprise-surprise – it doesn’t go smoothly. Several of the choices in the narrative structure are questionable and sloppily assembled, at best. All this adds up to Mile 22 earning the Not a Total Waste of Time rating.