Mile 22 (3 stars)

Mile 22

Action-packed techno-thriller reuniting star Mark Wahlberg with director Peter Berg

'The Great Game continues…' mutters James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) during the opening moments of Mile 22, a techno-thriller that reunites him with director Peter Berg. After sticking to real-life events for Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day, Berg and Wahlberg offer a fictional, fetishistic take on US military might, showcasing guns and equipment that will date faster than the references to election hacking and collusion. Mile 22 is about wham-bam video game action rather than geopolitical treatise but there's enough fantasy shock and awe here to justify anyone's buck.

After a violent prologue in which Silva's Overwatch team lay siege to a suburban American safe house occupied by Russian agents, the action shifts to Asia 18-months later, where Silva has another problem to solve: a double-agent who needs escorting 22-miles to an airstrip extraction point. The asset involved is police officer Li Noor (The Raid's kick-ass star Iko Uwais), and the deadly attentions of the local police indicate that Li has sensitive information that many factions desire.

Despite a bare-bones running time of 94-minutes, Mile 22 crams in plenty of car chases, fist-fights, double-crosses and ridiculous technobabble dialogue, while there is much to enjoy in the frenetic, splattery staging. But if Wahlberg's over-intense delivery veers into parody, the physical side is ably handled by UFC-champ-turned-actress Ronda Rousey and particularly Uwais, whose opening fight, handcuffed to a stretcher, is jaw-dropping to behold.

Intended to set up a multiverse of brutal espionage 'dark work', Mile 22 struggled to find an audience in the US. The condemnation from liberal media outlets ignored the skilful, cynical way Lea Carpenter's script ducks political questions in favour of delivering more traditional Hollywood values: brisk, straight-up, bone-headed action.

General release from Wed 19 Sep.

Mile 22

  • 3 stars
  • 2018
  • US
  • 18
  • Directed by: Peter Berg
  • Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, John Malkovich, Ronda Rousey, Iko Uwais
  • UK release: 19 September 2018

James Silva (Wahlberg) leads a crack CIA team to transport a government witness who's been targeted for assassination. Much double-crossing, fistfights and absurd technobabble, and while Wahlberg is over-intense, the physical stuff is well-handled by Rousey and Uwais. Straight-up, boneheaded action.