Yeah, I could have gone to see Crazy Rich Asians. But I didn’t.
Instead, I saw Mile 22.
James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) is some sort of savant-type genius with a bad temper. He works for Overwatch, an American spy agency that sends agents on special missions while a monitor, led by the man codenamed “mother” (John Malkovich) keeps an eye on things. While stationed in an unnamed East Asian country, searching for radioactive material that could be used for a dirty bomb, things get interesting in a bad way. A colleague has an informant (The Raid‘s Iko Uwais) who will give up the information in exchange for asylum. All Silva and his team has to do is get the guy to an airstrip 22 miles from the US Embassy in a limited amount of time.
OK, the action here, particularly the martial arts from Uwais, is actually rather impressive. The problem is Wahlberg, working with his frequent collaborator director Peter Berg. He does the action well enough I suppose, though he doesn’t seem nearly as formidable as Uwais, but the real problem is the script’s tendencies to give him fast talking monologues with a pseudo air of political or philosophical wisdom, but mostly he comes across as an asshole. The fact that the other characters in the movie refer to him as one doesn’t make him any less unlikable when he’s probably supposed to come across as a badass. I was sitting there wishing Uwais was the main character and Wahlberg wasn’t even in the movie for much of the running time. And for a movie that’s only a little over 90 minutes long, having the feeling that it’s spending too much time listening to Wahlberg say stuff that supposed to make him sound smart, well, it just didn’t work. It’s fine for action, and the actual plot outside of Wahlberg’s monologuing is somewhat interesting, but there maybe just wasn’t enough of that, relying instead on the idea that Mark Wahlberg ranting about getting the job done right or some such was compelling film making. It is not. 6.5 out of 10 deadly bakeries.
Then again, Watson really hated this one, and I thought there were worse out so far this year, but this may be an instance where, for once, my tinnitus actually did me a favor by seeing to it I didn’t hear everything that was said.