I take issue when a director finds inspiration in a well-known, habitual white nationalist for creative purposes and then actually applies him as an easter egg in what’s supposed to be a taut, escapist espionage action thriller. That being said, if you’re awake to politics these days, you’re forgiven for looking at Peter Berg a bit funny-like for pulling this shit in designing what Mark Wahlberg performs for what would have otherwise been an interesing character with some cool, high moments.
Apart from all this, Berg’s action-packed and always-moving sequel-setter-upper, Mile 22, in its rental-worthy entirety (or ownership depending on how much money you have to waste) is a very watchable, often stimulating and entertaining thriller at times, otherwise undone by an approach to the script that makes it look like a lurid, sometimes jarring contest among caricatures to see who can look and sound more angry and tough at the same time. The dialogue is definitely well-paced and executed for the film’s runtime and works in some ways despite failing in others.
Of course, the more prime Hollywood debut of Iko Uwais is given a multi-dimensional structure in this particular foray and provenly showcases he’s got gravitas as an actor. The same – as he’s continually invoked for the last nine years – goes for his caliber as an all-out martial arts star and screenfighter, though apparently nobody passed on the memo to the cinematographers, editors – or Berg himself, because, predictably, the fight scenery is half-cocked garbage, and completely substandard to what Uwais’ fans are used to seeing him in. More to the point, the fight scenes do
little to no ZERO justice to the pre-viz assembled for these scenes (I’ve only seen one such clip and it looks better than the crap being force fed in Berg’s poor excuse for a Bay/Bruckheimer contender).
You do get some great, climatic and capitulating moments amid the essential high-speed pursuits, general gunplay action and violence; Frankly I’d rather the film gave me this instead of selling martial arts action fans short just to milk the box office cow a bit more but… time and again that’s what Hollywood tends to be.
I don’t really know if I sequel will happen at this point, as much as this film was supposed to contend as a franchise vehicle. To be honest and despite its well-kept veneer in the action genre, I just wish this inaugural endeavor didn’t feel like a waste, and should there be a sequel, I say only this to the studios involved: create original and compelling characters of their own make that don’t feel like a stain on my conscience and keep what works. As for the fight design and delivery, leave the action to the pros. Don’t spit on my cupcake and call it frosting.