If you’re the sort of person who sat through the Mission Impossible franchise but spent the entire time wishing you didn’t know a single character’s name and also that you could watch more people being viscerally, excruciatingly wounded and killed then, boy, have I got a movie for you.
Directed by Peter Berg (Deepwater Horizon), Mile 22 stars Mark Wahlberg as James Silva, a “gifted” CIA operative who is in charge of a clandestine special operations team. “Gifted” in the sense that the opening credits of the movie impress upon us that he grew up as a special child with a high IQ and a gratuitously tragic past. His team is made up of Sam (Ronda Rousey) and Alice (Lauren Cohan), alongside a handful of other operatives who are rarely, if ever, named and given speaking roles even less frequently.
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Their missions are run by “Overwatch,” a group of tech-oriented spooks lead by a name codenamed Bishop (or “Mother” when in the field) played by John Malkovich. Overwatch uses drones and CCTV to ensure that Silva’s team have everything they need exactly when they need it and keep the missions as secretive and off the radar as possible.
Mile 22 actually picks up with Silva and his team botching a sting operation for a Russian spy cell in the American heartland. From there, we jump to sixteen months in the future, and the team is botching yet another job — this time to track down stolen and missing chemicals that can be used to create nuclear weapons. This failure is especially high stakes, considering the threat of nuclear annihilation that looms and is driving everyone to the brink and putting pressure on the team, especially Alice, who is apparently in the middle of a bad divorce.
Things start to pick up from there with a sudden pivot in one of their sources, a last minute request for asylum in exchange for information about the chemicals, and a vaguely defined threat from the local government of the country they’re stationed in. The informant is a traitor, you see, so they can’t let him go. Why a southeast Asian government would be interested in nuclear chemicals, however, is never really explained or interrogated. The only clear thing is this: Silva and his team must get their informant out of the country in exchange for the information on the chemicals, and to do so they have to travel down a 22 mile stretch of land to an airfield.
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