CROSSFIRE AS TEAM MUST OUTRUN DANGER
This is also the perspective of the team’s boss, who goes by the supposedly cool code name of Mother.
Played by John Malkovich with a dodgy barnet (there’s nothing gritty about that syrup), his job is to bark sweary orders from a control room while keeping an eye on his crew’s pulse rates via split-screen monitors.
Wahlberg is skulking in the garden with a machine gun, but when the Ruskies blow up the house and a young spy flies out of a window, he springs into action.
“You’re making a big mistake,” says the Russian as Wahlberg stands over him.
“I’ve made a lot,” he fires back before blasting him in the head.
The action is hard to follow at times, but this has to count as a strong opening.
Wahlberg’s character James Silva is upset because the “intel” on the raid was wrong. The house was supposed to contain chemical weapons for the Russians to wipe out several US cities, presumably after doing a bit of brass rubbing at local cathedrals. Thankfully, a double agent (played by martial arts ace Iko Uwais) turns up at the US embassy in a fictional Asian city, claiming to have the plans on a disk. He says he’ll only give up the password once he has been granted asylum and is safely on a plane to America. But as local police appear to be in cahoots with Russia, the 22-mile drive to the airport involves shoot outs, car chases and some shockingly gruesome mano-amano showdowns.
The shaky camera and rapid editing work fine for the most part but feel out of place when Uwais steps up to the plate.
If you have seen him in The Raid, you’ll know his fighting skills are best served by long takes and wide angles.
Still, there’s enough here to justify the sequel-baiting ending.
And if Berg and Wahlberg want to stay true to their brand, the next one will be a knockabout farce.
■ MARTIAL LAW: Iko Uwais and, left, Malkovich SPOOKED: Faraday is haunted by events of his past
■ RUNNING A MILE: Iko Uwais and Lauren Cohan