Director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and Hancock) returns with Mile 22, starring Mark Wahlberg as James Silva and Iko Uwais as Li Noor.

The film opens with American intelligence officer Silva and his squad being assigned to transport an Indonesian police officer, Noor, to an airstrip that is 22 miles from the US Embassy. Noor has some confidential information that the US government wants to gain at any cost, but can only acquire once he arrives at the place he wants to be.

The movie is, predictably, very testosterone filled and Wahlberg plays yet another ‘man’s man’ character, as he has done for Berg on numerous occasions. However, this is one of Berg’s weakest films to date and has much less emotional heft than his previous work. Berg seems to have a knack for adding seemingly random characters that at some point play an important role later on in his films. And there is a bit of that in the character Alice (Lauren Cohan), but it scarcely leads anywhere and feels out of place on screen.

The action is undoubtedly well choreographed and Uwais, who starred in Gareth Evans’ cult action films The Raid and The Raid 2, shows some of his excellent martial arts skills. As well as stealing some fantastic action sequences, he also manages to be the most interesting character of the lot, with great mystery surrounding his going rogue.

One of the let-downs of the movie is Wahlberg’s character. Supposedly both actor and director wanted James Silva to be an anti-hero who the audience roots for. Silva goes off on rants that are supposed to capture the mindset and intensity of what happens during a mission, which is an interesting premise in itself, but Wahlberg fails to convey any of that.

Another negative aspect of the movie is Ronda Rousey’s character. The actress, mixed martial artist and now pro wrestler has been given zero hand to hand fight scenes. It feels like a bit of a waste to have her in an action film and not utilise her strongest skill-set.

The movie is clearly inspired by the Bourne series and seeks to set up a similar world, even potentially leading to a franchise. That’s not an issue as the story has an interesting twist in the end with a surprisingly intriguing motive. However, it’s a problem when you aren’t invested into the lead characters, or at least not in the way the movie intends you to be. As a result, the movie ends up feeling rather indifferent.

Mile 22 is a one-time-watch, with excellent action sequences from Iko Uwais and mind-blowing choreography, it’s a shame that Peter Berg fails to deliver as strongly on character and plot.

3 stars

Image Credit: Movie DB.

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