MILE 22 could’ve been a pretty decent flick if it would’ve just slowed the fuck down and added about 20 minutes to its runtime. That way each camera shot/cut/edit what have you could’ve been more than the max of 3.5 seconds a piece (probably averages around 2 seconds for the whole film). This movie is basically 16 Blocks on cocaine. The film literally has no room to breath thus everything (story, action shots, characterization) suffers. The movie isn’t as bad as the critics are making it out to be, the film is watchable, and the first ten minute raid is actually pretty damn good, but the rest of the film seemed super rushed, as if they had a short window to shoot because everybody else was doing different things. This is definitely Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg’s worst collaboration yet, and after the poor box office results, maybe they should stick to what they are good at: adaptations of real life events instead of a jumbled up ass fictional script.
What is so frustrating about all of this is that all the ingredients were there to make a pretty good film, instead of a confusing okay one. Mark Wahlberg’s Silva character is very interesting but you only get to know about him through a quick introductory credits sequence, and the fact that he yells almost every single line while annoyingly pulling and slapping a rubber ban on his wrist to keep himself calm. Lauren Cohen’s character has a decent family (why in the fuck would you work for a cover ops branch of the government if you want to see your daughter) dynamic, but it too is rushed with a quick video call with the daughter and ex that lasts 20 seconds? The character that is explored the most in this is The Raid’s Iko Uwais, and even his dynamic of being a pretty bad ass martial artist is rushed with the camera never just settling on him so we can see those sweet fighting movies. His moves are cut off quicker than a Michael Bay or Paul Greengrass film. Peter Berg knows how to direct, especially with his last three collaborations with Wahlberg, so I don’t get the unnecessary shaky cam/quick cut stuff with this film. A director uses this method when they know that they aren’t a very good action director, and those cuts will make it seem like it is ‘bad ass fury fighting’ when in actuality if the camera stayed still it would look pretty tame and fake. It really doesn’t make sense with Iko Uwais fight scenes, because if you’ve seen The Raid, you know the guy is a bad ass martial artist. My thinking? The whole shoot was rushed and the editing person only had a few rough takes to edit together and not much to work with.
When I compared the movie to 16 Blocks, I wasn’t kidding. The story deals with this covert ops ghost government team led by Wahlberg and John Malkovich, and this man named Li Noor has some important information to give them that involved chemicals that can be used to build bombs that are worse than anything that has come before, including Hiroshima. He will give the government the information, as long as he is on a plane to the United States that is 22 miles away. Those 22 miles are supposed to seem like forever since they get bombarded with people trying to kill Noor. The movie has some good action beats, and the movie is a short 94 minutes, but it goes by way too fast and feels way too rushed. Also, the movie abruptly ends, and I get why it does (because they believe they were going to make a trilogy of films, this weekend box office says otherwise), but it still leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. The movie even has a interesting twist, that if explored more, could’ve been a nice treat instead of a shrug.
Anyway, this is a Netflix watch or Redbox rental at best. There are definitely worse films out there right now, like Mamma Mia 2 or The Spy Who Dumped me, but there are better ones, like Mission Impossible Fallout and BlacKkKlansman that deserve your box office bucks more. The film wasn’t terrible, it’s just frustratingly okay. I would like to try it out again if some extended cut with like 15 to 20 extra minutes were released, because it feels like an unfinished film. I want to blame director Peter Berg, but in the end, I always blame Hollywood, the production company, and the producers. They should always…ALWAYS…know better.