A covert unit of the CIA known as "Overwatch" is tasked with extracting a local informant from an unidentified Asian country. The group have just 90 minutes to get this asset - who holds information regarding a future attack - the 22 miles to an airfield outside the city, where a plane is waiting to transport him to the US. But the Americans aren't the only ones interested in this information, and members of the local government will stop at nothing to get it.
After three previous movies, Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg's fourth collaboration marks the first time they've worked on a fictional story together. Although it is based on a supposedly real unit within the CIA - how would we ever know if it was real or not? That said, I like to think members of the real unit would use a little more discretion on operations such as this, which might be the reason why we have never heard of them. But it is an exciting - albeit done before - concept; a race against time with what seems like the whole world bearing down on our small band of heroes. And the 18 rating should allow Wahlberg and Berg a lot of freedom to create an all-out action movie that harks back to the classics of the 70's and 80's. Unfortunately, it seems that the pair should stick to projects based on true stories. Despite some quite realistic action scenes, Mile 22 is for lack of a better term...bland.
Bar an incredibly tense opening sequence, it's just not that exciting. Mile 22 is only 90 minutes long, yet takes an age - mostly Wahlberg shouting at people - to get to the bullet ridden road trip the trailers promised. When you hear Iko Uwais - of The Raid fame - is going to be in a big Hollywood action movie, you expect plenty of impressively choreographed fight scenes. We get one. After that it's just a few poorly edited clips of what I assume was people kicking each other and a lot of gunfire. The latter being something they definitely made work with Lone Survivor, which involved a superbly shot and nerve-wracking moving gunfight. A movie like this should be a rolling shootout/kick-fest from start to finish. Instead, we get an ok action movie that takes itself way too seriously.
Mile 22 also suffers from some very uninteresting characters. Wahlberg's James Silva is nothing more than a giant arsehole who enjoys bullying people. The opening credits sequence lays on a little thick how intelligent Silva is supposed to be. I'm not sure if this is supposed to excuse him being an arsehole, but it feels more like a response to the Family Guy sketch about Wahlberg looking confused. I know he's the type of person you'd want in a job like this, but at least make him in some way likeable. Alice (Lauren Cohan) is the only half-way relatable character thanks to a messy divorce/custody battle. Ronda Rousey and Carlo Alban are given so little to do, their two-dimensional characters might as well be known as "Shooter 3" and "Shooter 4". And apart from a really awful hair piece, John Malkovich isn't even worth mentioning - I never thought I'd say that! Iko Uwais' Li Noor is the only interesting character. Uwais brings mystery to the local cop. You don't know if he can be trusted or how the information came to be in his possession. What you do know is that he's very capable and determined to get to the US.
If you're looking for an exciting action movie, you might be better off looking elsewhere. While there is a lot of action, it never really gets exciting. And Uwais' one good fight scene, along with an intense opening sequence aren't enough to make up for it. There are plans for a sequel (possibly even a trilogy), but I'm not sure I care enough about these characters to want to see Overwatch take on another mission.
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