Anybody who is familiar with Mark Wahlberg’s work (or indeed his personal image) will be expecting a fair amount of posturing in any film in which he runs around injuring a lot of people. His latest collaboration with director Peter Berg is no exception, and in fact takes this unashamed bolshiness to a new level.
Unlike their other three films together (Lone Survivor , Deepwater Horizon  and Patriot’s Day ) Mile 22 is actually not based on a true story. This fact does not necessarily disadvantage the film, but the amount of vanity therefore written specifically for Wahlberg into the high action scenes arguably does. Mile 22 follows James Silva (picture your stereotypical tough guy holding a gun): leader of a highly controversial and secretive special operations team on a mission to locate batches of nuclear weapons which could wipe out up to six cities.
Thai soldier Li Moor, played by martial arts professional Iko Uwais, holds vital information on the location of the weapons and is demanding US asylum in exchange for informing. The chase to get to the extraction point of Mile 22 whilst being followed by the government is what gives the film its high speed (and at times chaotic) urgency.
Though it would be easy to point out all the cinematic flaws and cast stereotypes of this film, Mile 22 undeniably presents some key requirements of a decent action film. With some fairly impressive chase scenes and fights, particularly Iko Uwais’s intense punch up while handcuffed to hospital equipment, and a plot line that remains fairly straight-forward and is redeemed by some decent acting from the cast such as Lauren Cohan (Alice); this film has its upsides.
Unfortunately, the slightly frenzied elements of the film and the questionable alpha male bravado thrown around by Wahlberg do make Mile 22 hard to appreciate for what it is. While it’s difficult to deny that this film is perhaps Wahlberg and Berg’s worst to date, with it being difficult to become invested in the film or its characters, on the surface it does present everything you want from an easy-watching film, shown through its fairly positive viewer response. If you’re looking for a film with a little more substance, this is one to avoid; if you’re looking for a quick action fix with a lot of muscle flexing — Mile 22 is the film for you.
Image: Caroline Bonarde Ucci via Flickr