Peter Berg returns to fiction for the first time since Battleship… unfortunately, the result is only mildly better.
⭐ ⭐ ½
A CIA black operations team, code named Overwatch and led by James Silva (Mark Wahlberg), locates and shuts down a terrorist operation shipping highly toxic caesium. Several months later, an Indonesian officer Li Noor (Iko Uwais) claims to hold information regarding the last caesium but is only willing to give it up in return for his safe passage out of the country. The Overwatch team is tasked with transporting him through a dangerous city to a safe airplane, before the information he has contained on a self-destructive disc is obliterated.
Peter Berg found his stride as a filmmaker with his last three films. As Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and Patriot’s Day can attest to, he’s a director at his best when recreating true, high-octane events that forced their subjects into heroic behaviour (that subject, namely, played by Mark Wahlberg). Mile 22 keeps Wahlberg’s heroics, but ditches the grounding in reality, revealing that reality is the key to making a Peter Berg actioner click.
Mile 22 shows some promise throughout, particularly in its opening raid on an incendiary safe house, but the problems begin to show though when we get a proper introduction to our characters. Berg settles for OTT caricatures, all of whom seem to be defined by swearing aggressively.
Only The Raid’s Iko Uwais shines, clearly having put in an enormous effort to choreograph his martial arts sequences – even if they have wound up edited to death. And despite this frenetic editing, the hard, fast, bloodthirsty and very frequent action sequences are engaging. But the guerrilla cinematography does make it difficult to follow what is happening.
The less said about Mile 22’s confused plot the better. It’s practically nonsensical and is derailed entirely by a ridiculous twist ending that defies logic. Disregarding this, it just manages to work as a call-back to the Bourne-inspired gun blazers of yesteryear, with some lightning-paced entertainment value.
Mile 22 is available in Australian cinemas from August 30
Image courtesy of Roadshow Films