Mile 22

MILE 22,   US, 2018, 94 minutes, Colour.  Starriing Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, John Malkovich, Rhonda Rousey. Directed by Peter Berg.  94 minutes. Rated MA (Strong violence and coarse language).

This action film is rather exhausting to watch even as we sit in the comfortable multiplex seat. There is a lot of action.

Just to get ourselves into the picture, it is useful to know where Mile 22 actually is. The action of the film, apart from a shootout set in the United States, is in a fictionalised Southeast Asian city (although actually filmed in Colombia). There is some drama in the American Embassy in the city and the need to get a subject to the airport, with the group being continually threatened, which is at Mile 22 from the Embassy.

Director Peter Berg has become something of an expert in making fast action films in recent years. Famous for Friday Night Lights, he has been to Saudi Arabia for The Kingdom, Afghanistan for Lone Survivor, the Gulf of Mexico for Deepwater Horizon, the Boston Marathon for Patriots’ Day. He has worked with Mark Wahlberg in several of these films – so we really know what to expect.

Because of the unnamed country, the variety of racial types, the presence of the Americans and their covert activities, the main part of the film with a desperate mission to get those 22 miles, the plot is not always easy to follow.

In the opening, there is a siege as a house in the American suburbs, agents outside, well-armed, a huge surveillance centre presided over by John Malkovich. It seems there are Russian agents inside. All this serves as an introduction to the covert agents and their supervision. There Is actually a twist which is revealed at the end.

In the Southeast Asian city, Alice (Lauren Cohan), who is also observed in a number of domestic problems at home, his partner with Jimmy Silva, a hyper- intelligent whizzkid, seemingly emotionless agent, played by Mark Wahlberg, has contact with a local policeman who has the key to some kind of code which the agency is trying to open. This man, Li, is played by Iko Uwais whom fans of tough action films will remember from the two Indonesian action shows, The Raid. (In those films he showed an extraordinary agility with his martial arts and get several opportunities to show this agility here.)

The local authorities do not want Li to leave the country and take every opportunity to make the trip to Mile 22 a dangerous obstacle course. This provides a whole lot of car chases, car explosions, detours into dangerous buildings, agents sacrificing themselves with explosives to stop pursuers.

And, as mentioned, there is something of a twist at the very end.

This film might be successful with action fans – but Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg should move onto the next one (which they apparently have).

Roadshow                                        Released August 30th

Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.


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