With their fourth collaboration in five years, director Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg move away from the true story and try to establish a new action franchise… with a promising start.
In films like Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and the most recent, Patriot’s Day, both director Peter Berg and his lead actor in all, Mark Wahlberg, have leaned toward the heroic tale, highlighting the exploits of exceptional figures in recent history. Now, with the much smaller scale, Mile 22, this dynamic duo adds to the success with a fictional story that gives them space to have fun with as much creative freedom as possible. The result is 94 minutes of pure action that puts the skills of its cast on the forefront, although at times it is not totally clear what the intentions of the director are.
Wahlberg leads the cast of Mile 22 as James Silva, a CIA operative who leads one of his most deadly divisions, composed of prominent individuals who have been trained for physical combat and who receive remote directions from their director, Bishop, played by John Malkovich. In its most recent mission, the team -composed also by Lauren Cohan and Ronda Rousey- must move an asset with valuable information from one point to another, with the least of the mishaps. Of course, without setbacks there would be no action film to review, and Mile 22 places its cast in the middle of a festival of problems, bullets and hand-to-hand combat in this promising start of a possible franchise for the young studio, STX Entertainment.
Mile 22 is an extraordinary debut for Iko Uwais, Indonesian action star who has tried to jump into Hollywood since the rest of the world met him in the phenomenal The Raid and its sequel. As a police officer and protector of valuable information that must be transferred to a safe place, Uwais is used correctly; in a limited and exclusively in sequences of action, where it looks immense even beside established stars like Mark Wahlberg. The rest of the time, Uwais is a simple passenger and goal of a government that failed him and his family and now accuses him of being a traitor. This is more development than the audience expects from an action movie, but it is a clever prelude to the most complex character in this story.
From an impressive fight with two assassins while one of his arms is handcuffed to a stretcher, until the final moment in which the director finally reveals his intentions with these characters, Uwais never stops demonstrating why he is considered one of the most popular action figures. exciting today. Berg is aware of this and is evidenced in a decision that comes in the third act of the film and that immediately creates anticipation for a possible continuation. A second part, of course, will depend on how many people see the appeal in an action proposal in which the protagonist is not necessarily a decorated hero or person more “nice” of the world. This is one of the biggest risks Berg takes, making Silva (Wahlberg) an unattractive person who never earns the respect of his team.
Ninety minutes go by in an action movie like this, but its short duration eliminates all the fat of a story with few entanglements and focused on the action. After all, this is the main attraction and success of Mile 22, a proposal that reaffirms Wahlberg and Berg as an effective duo actor / director.