MOVIE REVIEW: Relentless action flick pulls no punches
THE nicest thing you can say about Mile 22 is that this unashamedly ugly, ultra-violent thriller does not want to play nice at all.
Are you an action fan who has had it up to here with middling escapist fare that pulls the very punches it should be throwing? You might want to be booking your ticket right now.
A tonally erratic, yet relentlessly aggressive affair, Mile 22 is all impact, all the time.
If you can handle the rough stuff, one thing is for certain: you will not be bored for a nanosecond.
The premise is cut from thin, but durable race-against-time material.
There is this screw-loose US black-ops agent named Jimmy Silva (Mark Wahlberg), and he has a handful of hours to deliver a package from one side of an unnamed Asian metropolis to the other.
(If you're wondering about the relevance of the title, well, that's the non-metric length that will be spanned by the mission.)
Initially, Jimmy's odyssey looks like a scrappy remix of the famous in-and-out-of-Mexico motorcade sequence from Sicario (albeit with shorter city blocks and far more unpredictable traffic patterns.)
Then our hero and his back-up team are cast out of their vehicles, and it soon becomes a case of every man (and woman) for themselves on some very mean streets indeed.
Their enemies are quite open in their pursuit of Silva and his unit, even though the Americans (wrongly, as it transpired) believe the fundamentals of diplomatic immunity should provide at least a certain level of cover.
As for the mysterious package, that turns out to be Li Noor (Indonesian martial-arts genius Iko Uwais of The Raid fame), a local cop with a secret code lodged in his memory, and political asylum on his mind.
If Li Noor somehow gets to leave the country, he will spill the beans and thereby save the world from some kind of nuclear calamity.
The bone-breaking ballet danced by Uwais within the punishing physical combat sequences of Mile 22 are all that truly matter here - you just have to witness the man fighting all comers while chained to a hospital bed - and quite rightly, stick in the mind for some time afterwards.
Mile 22 is in cinemas now.
Mile 22 (MA15+)
Director: Peter Berg (Lone Survivor)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, John Malkovich, Ronda Rousey.
Rating : ***
Walking, wounded and just about going the distance