Mile 22 is a film I particularly looked forward to last year, since it was the fourth time director Peter Berg had worked with Mark Wahlberg, and they had a fantastic track record with Lone Survivor, Patriots Day and, particularly, Deepwater Horizon, which was astounding on the big screen (as well as deafening).
Alas, this latest collaboration was hardly showing anywhere because – and all credit to them for doing so, since a number of other studios wouldn’t do – STX International allowed this to go out as an uncut 18-certificate. I can think of numerous studios such as Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox who’d happily slice and dice a film to get it down to a more cinema-friendly 15, where it can have more bums on seats.
That said, even though this is an 18 for “strong bloody violence”, I can rarely find anything in such films which anyone aged 15-17 would be likely to copy, so I don’t see why an uncut 15 is a problem, but I’ll come to that.
Wahlberg is amongst a CIA team as agent James Silva, a man who was orphaned and has no family… which sounds like a plot point that’ll come up later, but no mention is made of it afterwards. Still, he and his team are working together on surveilling a house full of Russian baddies, who are hiding in plain sight as a family, but this is a pre-credits intro to the main event.
The problem is that a load of caesium has gone missing, which could be used to make a ton of dirty bombs. Cop Li Noor (Iko Uwais) knows where it is, but he’s in Indonesia, so for protection, he takes himself to the US Embassy and wants to get out of there. To get from where he’s arrived to a plane is a distance of 22 miles.
As it plays out, we see excerpts of a post-mission briefing where Silva discusses what went wrong it all… and we know it’s not going to be plain-sailing because they wouldn’t have made a film around a vehicle travelling 22 miles without incident.
Yes, it is gory, such as when one baddie’s head comes through a car window, and then is forced down onto the broken glass around the edge, and dragged back and forth a couple of times, but this is why we need an R-rating to replace both the 15-cert and 18-cert. This could be set as being viewable by those over 15, but with the proviso that it contains “strong bloody violence”
It’s a great premise, but whenever there’s occasional hand-to-hand martial arts combat, the editing is annoying as it cuts between clips every split-second. I’d much rather just have the fight choreographed so it takes place with as few of those as possible. It certainly ain’t The Raid!
Also, it’s similar in style to 16 Blocks, but when it gets to this section, it’s only looking at a run from A to B and all the problems they come across, which can only be solved with fists, bullets or grenades; and while it’s entertaining, the street-shooting scenes do feel a little Heat-lite, even though it’s nice when the bullets splatter about all around the speakers. It is a plus, however, that when there’s explosions, it’s done for real rather than using CGI. That certainly helps, and too many modern films over-rely on CGI.
Outside of work, I like that when Silva does “The world’s most difficult jigsaw”, it’s purely a white rectangle. Elsewhere, director Peter Berg gives himself a brief cameo as Alice’s ex, Lucas, and it’s always good to see John Malkovich, but he’s just restricted to one location for the entire movie, as part of a ground team.
The extras are nothing but a series of mini-featurettes… well, filler, which are so short, they may as well be inconsequential, as they mix clips from the film with chat from the cast and crew.
They are: Overwatch (1:36), Ground Branch (1:44), Colombia (3:41), Behind the scenes stunts (1:54), Introducting Iko (1:44), Modern Combat (1:52) and Iko Fight (1:44).
Beyond that, there’s an audio description track, if you find those useful.
The menu mixes clips from the film with a short piece of the score, there are subtitles in English, and just a bog-standard number of chapters with 12.
Running time: 94 minutes
Studio: STX International
Released: January 28th 2019
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Format: 2.39:1 (HDR (Dolby Vision), Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Peter Berg
Producers: Peter Berg, Stephen Levinson, Mark Wahlberg
Screenplay: Lea Carpenter and Graham Roland
Music: Jeff Russo
James Silva: Mark Wahlberg
Alice Kerr: Lauren Cohan
Li Noor: Iko Uwais
Bishop: John Malkovich
Sam Snow: Ronda Rousey
William Douglas III: Carlo Albán
Vera: Natasha Goubskaya
Queen: Chae Rin Lee
Axel: Sam Medina
King: Keith Arthur Bolden
Knight: Jenique Hendrix
Rook: Billy Smith
Pawn: Myke Holmes
M.I.T.: Emily Skeggs
Johnny Porter: Terry Kinney
Jacob Stone: Brandon Scales
Dorothy Brady: Poorna Jagannathan
Lucas: Peter Berg
India: Elle Graham
Aleksander: Nikolai Nikolaeff
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.