Mile 22 is a loud, high-strung CIA-action drama that’s tedious and confusing. The first 30 minutes you just grapple to understand what is happening on screen and thereafter it’s no better. At the 30 minute mark, you get a sane scene, where a senior CIA Officer, James Bishop (John Malkovich) tells Mark Walhberg’s character James Silva, “Your job is not about predicting tomorrow based on yesterday, that’s what accountants do, your job is to prevent the end of tomorrow based on your brains and imagination. If you don’t find the Cesium before it is too late, you’ll be held responsible of the single largest intelligence foibles so f*****g wake-up.” This dialogue gives you an inkling of what to expect.
The Cesium, is a nuclear substance which if released into the atmosphere, would have a devastating effect like, “Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined”. Under the leadership of James Bishop, the CIA manage to destroy most of the shipment of Cesium before the highly toxic substance can be weaponised to kill thousands. But, there is one consignment of Cesium that is missing and is still a cause of a threat.
Sixteen months later, an Indonesian policeman, Li Noor (Iko Uwais) comes to a US embassy saying that he has the locations of the missing substance, but would reveal the information in exchange for asylum. So Silva and his unit take on the extremely dangerous operation of transporting Li, 22 miles to a plane that will get him to the US. This seems like a Mission-Impossible situation or similar. But the thrill in the execution is missing.
The plot scripted by first-time screenwriter Lea Carpenter, from a story by her and Graham Roland, resembles that of many video games, as it involves getting a character from one point to the next with the maximum amount of threat, hurdles and collateral damage inhibiting the journey.
While the film excels in action-sequences, the poorly developed characters mouthing dialogues in a frenetically excited manner just add to the chaos, thereby leaving the audience confused and disoriented at every turn. So it goes without saying that the performance of its ace-cast is perfunctory and emotionless.
Mounted with a moderate budget, the production values of Production Designer Andrew Menzie, are run-of-the-mill. While the film exhibits snappy, razor-sharp edits, the background score is ear-deafening. The extremely loud and ear-piercing score tends to give you a headache. Overall, the film about the unpredictability of counter terrorism efforts by the CIA is such a lowbrow, predictable affair.