Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!
I was somewhat hopeful that this would be a fun action movie. I’ve enjoyed some of director Peter Berg’s works, and Mark Wahlberg’s. The two have made films together several times before, but I’ve always thought they work better apart from each other so I had some trepidations. I’m also a big fan of Lauren Cohan (Maggie on The Walking Dead) and thought this might be a breakout role for her, and I’ve also enjoyed a few of the production company’s films in the past. HBrothers does quirky action films, and those make me happy. I really enjoyed MMA fighter Gina Carano as an actor in Haywire, but hadn’t seen Ronda Rousey in a film and wondered how that would go. I had a balancing act of expectations before getting to the theater, which came down solidly on one side by the end.
Right away I noticed that the audience is watching a group of sociopaths, killing without hesitation and with no remorse. Even the deaths of their comrades during the opening firefight didn’t seem to affect them at all. The next thing I noticed was the beginning of what turned out to be a ninety minute sermon on how extreme patriotism should be expressed through a complete abandonment of law and embracing total government control. Yeah, it made my head spin. Throughout we’re treated to non-stop gratuitous flag waving, even during some of the action sequences through Mark Wahlberg’s seemingly non-stop fast-talking soliloquies. He actually utters the phrase “higher form of patriotism” more than once as he guns down a never-ending parade of faceless villains who obligingly step out of cover to be mowed down in the good guys’ unerringly accurate shooting. The film is an anti-press, anti-law wet dream.
The premise is pretty straightforward – get this asset (action actor Iko Uwais) to an American plane touching down 22 miles away within a ten minute window so he can be whisked away for further interrogation. But the movie is a lot more scattered than that, scattered being a word I wrote in my notes about an hour in. There was a lot of buildup and explanations and repeated fast talking and introductions of plot arcs that there was no time or need to follow up on before the shooting finally started. The high tech computer whiz overseers of Wahlberg’s group booted up DOS (yeah, you heard me – should have seen my notes on THAT), allowing the director to give us repeated confusing and random flashes of computer screens that I assume was supposed to create tension in the viewer. It might work if you’re a complete cyberphobe, but I for one was unfazed.
The action, when it finally started about halfway through the movie, was fast-paced and used a lot of locations. One of the weirdest aspects was how often we heard Lauren Cohan cussing like a sailor. It freaked me out more than watching someone hide behind a mattress to escape a bomb exploding ten feet away. Besides Ronda Rousey, the biggest waste of the movie was Iko Uwais, a masterful action actor. Even during the few times his talent is showcased you can barely follow the action because of a sudden case of hand held camera and fast cut editing.
I really can’t recommend going to see this film. I described it to CFR the next day after watching it as simply “meh”, but the more I think about it the more I can say I really didn’t like it at all. Wahlberg and Berg both have made a point of promising this movie is the beginning of a trilogy, and the end of the film makes that terribly clear. If there is a sequel I’ll just ask someone to tell me what happens because I won’t care enough to pay money to see it.
Mile 22 | Official Trailer | Now In Theaters