Mile 22

‘Mile 22’ is another in a very long line of recent action thrillers. Hollywood seems to love the sound of guns blazing and the ensuing chaos. This isn’t anything new with action flicks busting onto screens in various degrees of quality. The genre has recently been more focussed on better performances and authenticity. This trend is evident in ‘Mile 22’ with a cast delving into the script’s gritty atmosphere with energetic gusto.

The Ground Branch of the Special Activities Division is an elite CIA task force. Involved in often dangerous missions, their latest tests their agent’s abilities. On orders from his boss dubbed ‘Mother’ (John Malkovich), James (Mark Wahlberg) is tasked with escorting a high profile asset, Li Noor (Iko Uwais) 22 miles to the extraction point. Events turn sour as a litany of terrorists hunt the group with vengeance.

The editor must have had a field day with ‘Mile 22’. Although directed by Peter Berg, ‘Mile 22’ feels edited within an inch of its life. Barely a second goes by in a scene without cutting away to something. This has a disorientating affect in making the plot difficult to follow. Perhaps this was the intention as the characters face danger at any moment. Unfortunately this makes for jarring viewing as the screenplay swiftly becomes as garbled as the clichéd dialogue.

The minuses continue with the wooden performances and threadbare characterisation. Both have the effect of making one care little about what happens to the characters. A major plus is the exploration of how the team go about their duties and how quickly events can deteriorate. Those elements manage to genuinely captivate with a good twist ending. The action is well staged although due to the terrible editing, hard to see. ‘Mile 22’ also delights a little too much in the violence with the blood flowing as freely as the high body count.

‘Mile 22’ has a reasonable story hidden in its jumbled narrative. Superior editing and direction may have made it a better experience. In terms of guns, fights and explosions, it’s up there with several action yarns with dodging bullets something that should be high on a would-be agent’s resume.

Rating out of 10: 5

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