Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Review: Mile 22

Mile 22
Cert: 18 / 94 mins / Dir. Peter Berg / Trailer

Well credit where it's due, there aren't too many mainstream movies these days which depict disabilities in a way that isn't heavy handed or a 'look at me' feature. Mile 22 has a leading character in the shape of James Silva (played here by Mark 'Wahlberg' McMark), a US government black ops assassin who coincidentally has a genius level IQ, no social skills and a form of high-functioning autism meaning he finds it difficult to focus his thoughts in one particular direction. We see our hero constantly trying to keep control of his brain and his temper, and prevent them whizzing off in a dozen different directions at once. What's more, the film also appears to have been written, shot and edited by people with that same condition.

There's not a single cut in here longer than four seconds, and the vast majority aren't even half of that. Mile 22 is like having a 94-minute panic attack in Curry's TV display-area while being talked down by Roseanne Barr and Seth MacFarlane. Wahlberg spends half his screentime irately repeating other characters' dialogue back at them, and the other half muttering or yelling unintelligible rubbish, the latter being a technique shared by many members of the cast in reciting a script which doesn't seem to matter.

John Malkovich tries his hardest not to look embarrassed in the best/worst wig since Nic Cage in Ghost Rider. John's only reassuring thought is that in a cutaway 'control room' role, he could still maybe persuade his agent to have the performance removed in post-production for a get-out fee, or if it was conveniently discovered he'd Done A Spacey. You didn't pay (or harass) them enough mate, they left you in.

Some deft choreography (or what you can see of it anyway) and a couple of nice action sequences aside, this film has no idea what it wants to say or how it should be said. It's like a Sicario fan-fiction written by a 13yr old. Cinematic gibberish. Although frankly, I've seen worse; it's me that should know better.

In addition to the regular seven-question roundup, here's a pro/con breakdown of what to expect from Mile 22...

It's fast-paced action-thriller featuring Lauren Cohan.

Although its main star is the solid brass charisma-vacuum, Mark Wahlberg.

It's got the magnificent Iko Uwais in it.

Whose skills you won't see properly because of the editing.

 It's got MMA/UFC champion and Judo Olympic medalist Ronda Rousey in it.

 Who gets to display almost no hand-to-hand fighting.

It's about the US secret service, so plenty of shootouts.

Accompanied by plenty of po-faced flag-waving*1 and blinkered moralising.

It's got an 18-rating because of All The Violence.

Then again, so has the batshit-crazy American Assassin.

At 96 minutes, it's short and punchy.

So is cholera.

Still, that's next year's Academy Award for 'Laziest Father's Day DVD' in the bag...

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Stratton. This is for people who liked Stratton.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
The bigger the screen, the more migraine-inducing this will be.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
Not unless you've got an hour and a half spare in which you don't want to understand the thing in front of you.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
I have no idea what the best work of Mark Wahlberg or Peter Berg might look like, sorry.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
Judging by the general reception, no.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I heard.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Kanjiklub's Razoo Quin-Fe is in this.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…
I'll level with you, I was going to score this 3/7.
but reading back everything I've written, I really can't…

*1 Although to be fair, I don't think I saw a single actual stars-and-stripes in the whole movie (not that my eyes had that much time to take in the set-dressing), which for a Wahlberg/Berg collaboration is previously unheard of. Hey, maybe it wasn't the flags which were ruining those flicks after all! In fact, it's almost as if America™ exists on a purely metaphorical level here. Then again, with Chinese production company Huayi Brothers co-producing the movie, it's just as likely that The Suits want this political thriller to be as non-political as possible for the 2018 global marketplace.
Russia gets a mark against its name in the script, but even that jibe has a lame moral cop-out justification. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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