Even great relationships hit a pothole every once in awhile. For Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg, “Mile 22” is their pothole – except, in this case, it’s a crater.
This is the fourth collaboration between actor Wahlberg and director Berg, who previously brought three true-life stories to the screen: 2013’s memorable “Lone Survivor”, 2016’s uninspiring “Deepwater Horizon” and the underrated “Patriots Day” (also released in 2016). “Mile 22” is an original story, and it shows.
This movie actually should’ve been called “22 Miles”, since the plot centers around a group of elite, undercover CIA operatives who must get an informant safely from Point A to Point B – exactly 22 miles – while being hunted by killers. As the film unfolds, it becomes apparent that Mile #22 isn’t significant at all.
What is significant is the very weak script. This is Lea Carpenter’s first screenplay. She previously wrote the acclaimed 2013 novel Eleven Days. Rapid fire dialogue can work in a novel, but unless you’re Aaron Sorkin, it doesn’t work on film, especially in an action movie.
And there’s plenty of action in “Mile 22”. In fact, more than half of the short, 95-minute runtime consists of scenes involving automatic weapon assaults and explosions. It all quickly becomes repetitive and mindless. Add lightning-fast editing techniques and the results are painful.
There are stiff performances all the way around – from a disinterested Wahlberg, to Lauren Cohan, Ronda Rousey and even Berg himself, who appears in a cringingly awkward scene. I’ve always been hit-and-miss with the quirky roles of John Malkovich. Here as “Mother”, the head of operations, he stays mellow, which is a nice surprise.
Reports say Wahlberg and Berg plan on turning “Mile 22” into a franchise. But these two should stick to what they do best: making authentic and inspiring films about real-life heroes.
And the thought of a sequel titled “Mile 23” just makes things worse.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Mile 22” gets a D.
Running Time: 95 min.