Mile 22

James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) is an agent for a secret CIA task force known as Overwatch. His team includes Alice (Lauren Cohan), Sam (Ronda Rousey), and Douglas (Carlo Alban). The field agents are supported by a high-tech tactical team led by a man known as Bishop (John Malkovich), who oversees the missions. This team monitors any hostiles involved, incoming police or medical vehicles, and helps plan and facilitate escape routes.

A man named Li Noor (Iko Uwais) shows up to the US Embassy with an encrypted disk. He claims the disk contains the location of stolen cesium, used to make dirty bombs. Li is willing to give the decryption code to US officials in exchange for getting him out of the country. The Overwatch team is tasked with getting Li to an airfield for extraction.

The airfield is 22 miles from the embassy and once the plane lands it can only stay on the ground for 10 minutes, making timing of the essence. With Li being hunted by the Russians as well as local forces, James and his team must be ready for anything.

Mark Wahlberg is intense as ever in this role. His character has a tic that involves snapping a rubber bracelet on his arm whenever he can’t cope with his hyperactive mind. It is explained as a condition he had as a child, but little is ever done with this besides constant shots of Silva snapping the bracelet. It gets a little more than distracting and serves no real purpose other than to show his intensity. John Malkovich is as John Malkovich as he’s ever been in this movie. He delivers each line with the deliberation and tone that he does in every movie. Like Wahlberg’s character, Malkovich’s Bishop has a peculiar character trait – an affinity for wearing sneakers during the missions. This is never really explained. It is implied this may be for luck, but there is no background given and never really addressed aside from Silva asking Bishop if he is wearing them. Lauren Cohen’s character is played up as a bit of a stereotype showing women are easily distracted from their job. Her ex-husband, played by Peter Berg, harasses her, using their daughter as a pawn in the game. Naturally, this causes some difficulty and she is told to “Deal with it” by Silva. It comes off a bit misogynistic.

The movie tries to be timely and relevant, throwing out images of the former and current president. I understand what they are going for, but it comes off gimmicky. What the movie does have going for it is action. It starts at the very beginning and doesn’t let up until the very end, a merciful 95 minutes later. During those 95 minutes, they throw in just about every action movie trope in the book. The action is interspersed with scenes of Silva giving a debriefing to a group of people, which lets you know pretty much from the start that the mission doesn’t go according to plan. One thing I will give the film, I did not see the ending coming.

Mile 22 adds little to the secret spy organization/action genre. If you’re looking for a movie that lets the bullets fly without the need for silly things like character development, this may be a movie for you. Otherwise, wait for the rental or, better yet, see Crazy Rich Asians.

Quick question, if they cut the power to the building, how do people keep coming up the elevator?

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