By Bradley Griffith
There are many fall movie releases that look to be suspenseful, dramatic, funny, and entertaining. Until those movies make their way into theaters, moviegoers will have to make do with the meager offerings at the cinema. If you find yourself in need of a high-octane thrill ride, “Mile 22” fits the bill.
James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) is a black operations agent for the CIA. He leads a team of operatives called Overwatch that doesn’t officially exist. The Overwatch team does all the dirty work that no one wants to see or even acknowledge takes place. His team consists mainly of Alice Kerr (Lauren Cohan), Sam Snow (Ronda Rousey), and William Douglas (Carlo Alban). Bishop (John Malkovich) provides surveillance and guidance from a remote location.
The opening sequence to the movie takes place in suburban America. The team is dispatched to take down a cell of Russian spies who have infiltrated the United States. The team is specifically looking for a stockpile of cesium, a toxic substance that can be used to make dirty bombs. The intelligence that the team relies on for the raid said that there was enough cesium in the home to make dozens of bombs. The operation doesn’t go as planned, and they find no cesium.
Sixteen months later the team is now stationed in Indonesia. Despite many resources being devoted to the cause, they still haven’t found the cesium. They get a break when a local special forces police officer surrenders himself to the U.S. Embassy. Li Noor (Iko Uwais) is a reliable source that Alice has cultivated. Noor claims to know where the cesium is being held. The information is on an encrypted disk to which only he has the password.
Noor wants one thing in exchange for the password, his freedom. He knows how corrupt his government is and declares that he will only give the Americans the password when he is on board a plane headed to the United States. But his government won’t give him up without a fight.
The opening sequence in the suburban home where Russian agents are taken down is the best scene of the movie. It’s an intense firefight and starts the movie off with a bang, literally. This scene sets the tone for the remainder of the movie. “Mile 22” proceeds at a fast pace for the rest of the movie, especially when they try to transport Noor to Mile 22 to the American plane to take him away. The pace of the action is so fast that sometimes it is hard to tell who’s winning the fight.
It’s an action movie, through and through. There are some covert elements to the mission and to the team, but the movie is mostly about the bad guys and the good guys trying to kill each other, almost exclusively with firearms. It would be nearly impossible to count the rounds of dummy ammunition that were expended to film the movie.
There are a few cars involved, but no high-speed chases. There are a few good scenes of hand-to-hand combat, particularly one involving Noor and three men sent from his own government into the U.S. Embassy to kill him. The entire movie is not just one big gunfight, but that’s not far from being accurate.
There’s a plot to the movie, but its only purpose is to provide a reason why everybody wants to kill each other and why the Overwatch team must get Noor to a certain location at a certain time. There are a couple of twists in the story, but you won’t focus on those plot devices because you will be too concerned about the hail of gunfire being sent back and forth for three-fourths of the movie. The filmmakers do deserve credit because they did not pull any punches about who gets taken down in the barrage of bullets.
I like action movies, so I enjoyed “Mile 22” for what it is and what it is supposed to be, a movie where you can sit back and enjoy good guys and bad guys fighting it out to the death.
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Rated R for strong violence and language throughout.