For their fourth collaboration in five years, director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg veer slightly away from the "patriotic true-story" sub-genre of Lone Survivor (2013), Deepwater Horizon (2016) and Patriot's Day (2016) to deliver this fictional patriotic action thriller, which asserts real-world relevance by casually throwing out terms like "collusion" and "election-hacking".
Often frustratingly soft-spoken elsewhere, Wahlberg offers up his liveliest performance in ages as James Silva, the manic, jabberjaw leader of an ultra-secretive, ultra-effective paramilitary unit that gets its orders from the CIA. In an unnamed Southeast Asian country, Silva and his team must transport an asylum-seeking informant the titular distance to a waiting plane in order to gain critical intelligence. Many, many bad guys will try to stop them.
The informant is played by Indonesian actor/martial artist Iko Uwais, star of action cult hit The Raid. Although he's "the package" in this particular set-up, the film gives Uwais plenty of reasons to deploy his particular set of skills, which remain as stunningly cinematic as ever.
Indeed, more so than I anticipated, Mile 22 is an impressively bad-ass, hard-edged action movie, effective enough to justify its brazenly fascistic world view.
It opens with an intensely palpable house assault sequence, briefly pauses for Wahlberg to yammer on like he's never yammered-on before (it's actually quite funny), before heading into the main gauntlet run, an epic set-piece that takes up the final third of the movie and evokes everything from the legendary Heat shoot-out to the martial arts savagery of John Wick.
The strong supporting cast does good work, in particular The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan, who makes a strong case for her own movie stardom here.
Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan
R16 (Graphic violence and offensive language)
No-nonsense fascistic fun.