NEW YORK (CNS) — The sloppy, toxic mix of gunfire, explosions and cursing that is “Mile 22” (STX) makes it difficult to endure and impossible to recommend.
Dialogue and a coherent plot are afterthoughts in what must have been intended as a timely espionage thriller.
Director Peter Berg and screenwriter Lea Carpenter have carved a slight story of a CIA paramilitary team led by Jimmy (Mark Wahlberg). He’s permanently angry, scornful of diplomats and diplomacy, and finds different ways to hurl verbal abuse at his squad, particularly Alice (Lauren Cohan) and Sam (Ronda Rousey).
Such operations, Jimmy explains, “require a level of violence not palatable to most people.”
He kids you not. The violence level here not only is not palatable, it’s also confusing when it comes to figuring out who the villains are.
The plot, which is not explained until a full hour in, involves a high-stakes plan to transport Li (Iko Uwais), an intelligence “asset” with an encrypted hard drive that gives the location of a missing radioactive isotope which can be used to create nuclear weapons.
The disk is deteriorating by design, only Li, who demands asylum, knows how to access it, and so time is of the essence. There’s plenty of time for a long, bloody fistfight, though.
All of this leads to the team going through a 22-mile obstacle course of high-speed chases and enemy agents from the fictional Asian nation of Indocarr on their way to an American transport plane. Additionally, the team must cope with demands from Bishop (John Malkovich) who operates “Overwatch,” which, as the name implies, is mostly aerial footage from drones.
The result is an unwatchable, morally repugnant botch that appears to have been slapped together from salvageable action sequences.
The film contains pervasive gun and physical violence, some gore and frequent profanities. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.