Mark Wahlberg once again teams up with director Peter Berg (Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon) for the action thriller Mile 22. The film has its moments but is not quite on par with the pair’s previous two efforts.
Wahlberg plays the extremely abrasive head of an elite special forces unit. His team’s job is to transport a rogue police officer (Iko Uwais) of a southeastern Asian country to an extraction point. He has valuable information about dirty bomb-making chemicals but will only surrender that info when he is safely out of the country. To reach the extraction point, Wahlberg and company must run a gauntlet of rival agents.
Berg is one of Hollywood’s more reliable directors, and he shows some of his usual good instincts here. The running time is kept to a fleet 94 minutes, always welcome in an era full of 135-150 minute genre films. Berg and screenwriter Lea Carpenter also deserve credit for going for something a little darker and uglier than most action films. Wahlberg is unafraid to come off as thoroughly unlikable in some scenes (in one amusing moment, his colleagues speculate as to what specific personality disorder he suffers from).
But the movie does not fully realize its potential. On paper, it should work in a manner similar to other run-the-gauntlet movies like The Warriors or 2015’s underrated ’71. But the movie’s first half is too leisurely and Wahlberg’s team does not begin its journey across the city until the film’s midway point. There is one doozy of an action scene where Uwais must fight off assailants while still handcuffed to a gurney. But in other scenes, overly quick cutting renders some of the action hard to follow.
Mile 22is far from a bad film, but Berg has done better in the past and will likely do better in the future.