Mile 22 Misses by a Mile
By Dave Kibbler
Have you ever gone to a sit-down Chinese restaurant, ordered from the menu, and then realized when the food came to your table that you have no idea what you are being served? Welcome to “Mile 22”, a chop-socky mismash of an action flick that veers from shoot-em-ups to martial arts to espionage to something akin to chow mein mixed with instant oatmeal.
The plot, what there is of it, concerns an elite CIA tactical squad directed by Bishop (John Malkovich). James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) is the team’s de-facto leader, and his mission is to extract a mysterious police officer from a fictitious Asian country so this officer will then reveal the code for where mising vials of cesium are located across the world. “Mile 22” refers to the distance from the American embassy to a remote airstrip where the extraction is to take place. It’s a ludicrous premise, and the jumbled writing makes it even worse. Wahlberg’s character talks so fast I almost expected him to get into a shouting match with the guy who used to do the MicroMachines commercials on TV. Iko Uwais plays the police officer seeking asylum, and while he can do some serious martial arts moves, his acting range is limited to somewhere between meditation and smirk. Lauren Cohan and Rhonda Rousey round out the forgettable cast.
“Mile 22” wanted to be “The Gauntlet” meets a Jet Li action flick. Instead, it is a foul, ultra-violent calamity. Throw in some superflous Russians in a modified AWACS jet, and some nerdish compuerese mumbo jumbo, and you have a recipe for awful. There’s no one likeable in the film, so you are not invested for one minute in the success of failure of the mission, or which characters live or die. What’s even worse, the few decent opportunities at fight scenes are ruined by lighting that varies between “dive bar at 1 AM” and “blackout”.
Peter Berg directed this mess, from a screenplay by Lea Carpenter. I stopped counting F-bombs at 100. They are totally unneeded, as is much of the bone-crunching, sickening violence that does not advance the plot or the characters. Don’t waste even one footstep toward watching “22 Mile.