Mile 22

Mile 22 reunites the team of Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, last having seen success with Deepwater Horizon and Patriot’s Day. With a solid foundation in the action thriller genre, Berg’s Mile 22 has been designed to kick off Wahlberg’s franchise which already has a sequel in the works before its release.

The film sets up the premise of the team quickly with a botched Russian capture mission which sets the story in motion for the remainder of the film as well as introduces us to the characters. Layers of their lives outside their role in the team are peeled away in small moments that provide a glimpse into not who they are away from their job but who they could’ve been. The devoted mother, the unstable genius, the reluctant expert all assay Silva’s surrogate family since they have failed to connect with their own families.

A mission to recover a biochemical weapon is compromised as it appears the team have been led on a wild goose chase, leaving casualties behind them until the arrival of Li Noor (Iko Uwais). Noor is the timer that starts off the real journey of Mile 22 after an elaborate set up. As the only one who knows the code to unlock an encrypted self destructing file, Noor becomes the package that must be delivered to safety before time runs out. Negotiations and diplomacy are thrown out the window early on during his arrival and the film shifts gear to become a getaway film in reverse with the hunters becoming the hunted. At this point the film’s brutal action quotient goes off the chart and turns into a splatterfest which shows what Wahlberg’s team can really do and are willing to sacrifice for the security of their country.

Mark Wahlberg moves away from his blue collar roles in Berg’s previous films to become a killing machine focused only on the mission at hand. His character’s assessment of life coupled with his mental illness, takes him to another level that’s hyper-involved and has less of a conscience at times.

A theme of the loss of innocence resonates through the film. Silva’s character as a child losing his innocence and being forced to fend for himself after the death of his family, Alice’s constant desire to be an involved mother, a Russian general’s son’s death which starts it all off and Silva’s desire to avoid civilian casualties show a dirty world corrupted with the loss of innocence. While on the surface, Mile 22 seems like a political action thriller, it’s deeper layers reflect a more thought out film which doesn’t shy away from suggesting the imperfect world we live in needs to be maintained that way. Wahlberg is ably supported by Rhonda Rousey, Lauran Cohen, John Malkovich and the brilliant Iko Uwais as Li Noor, who after The Raid gets a chance to showcase his fight mastery in a Hollywood film.

Mile 22 is a good film that’s well crafted and another feather in Peter Berg’s cap. It provides a great ensemble team for Wahlberg to bounce off with a plot that requires a little concentration but rewards viewers with a payoff more plausible than most action films. Recommended.

Watch the official trailer here.