Wrong turn for Wahlberg
Mile 22 marks the fourth collaboration between director Peter Berg and his new muse Mark Wahlberg.
The pair may love working together but their movies have yet to rise above middle-of-theroad – and this mix between 16 Blocks, Sicario and other similar superior flicks doesn’t even get that far.
That’s despite an attention-grabbing opening sequence featuring a raid on a woodland property, shot using multiple cameras, drones and heat sensors, which comes to a fiery end.
From there, though, Graham Roland and Lea Carpenter’s story comes to a grinding halt to bombard us with an overabundance of set-up and more cursing than a Tarantino movie.
The intriguing concept of a top-secret tactical command unit, led by Wahlberg’s mentallytroubled Silva, and their efforts to smuggle mysterious cop Li (Iko Uwais) out of Indonesia gets bogged down with unnecessary dialogue bursts and plot strands that go nowhere, like Alice’s (Lauren Cohan) online bickering with her ex-husband.
Sadly the off-the-grid unit isn’t one to root for; Wahlberg’s foul-tempered head of operations is one of the least likeable leading men you’re likely to lay eyes on.
Using rapid-fire speech and flicking an elastic band against his wrist, it’s a simplistic and grating portrayal of someone with mental health issues.
Initially it appears that Cohan is going to be on level pegging with Wahlberg but her one-note character is increasingly sidelined, the talented actress getting much more meat to chew on with her role as Maggie in The Walking Dead.
John Malkovich (Bishop) adds little beyond a dodgy hair-piece and Ronda Rousey (Sam) continues to show she’s much more adept at bending bones in a wrestling ring than chancing her arm at this acting lark.
Forget Wahlberg, the real star of the show is Uwais. Ever since the stunning Raid movies, the Indonesian has been waiting for his big break in Hollywood.
Hopefully this is it as his enigmatic presence is a treat to behold and he still knows how to throw fists and feet better than most; witness the cracking smackdown in a medical room.
At one point during the latter stages Bishop tells Silva to “stop monologuing” and the ironic thing is this is during a fun little face-to-face moment – unlike the numerous other random, supposedly weighty speeches peppered throughout Roland and Carpenter’s script.
The pair earn brownie points, however, with a neat late twist and a surprisingly bold ending that suggests we haven’t seen the last of Silva on the big screen.
Hopefully, if this is the case, it’s more than just the action scenes that go the distance next time.
It also wouldn’t do Wahlberg and Berg any harm to remember to inject more heart and charm – and bring Uwais back with them.
Tense time Mark Wahlberg’s Silva feels the heat in Mile 22