‘Phil’s Quick Capsule Review’ (a nod to legendary comedian Bill Hicks who coined the phrase when he reviewed ‘Piece Of Shit’ movie Basic Instinct)… where a perfect 10 is rarer than a rain free British summer!
Written by Phil Hobden – UK based podcaster, writer and former filmmaker. Part of the All Things Film network…
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: What a mess Mile 22 is. From Mark Wahlberg’s OTT yet oddly flat performance to Lauren Cohen’s equally silly overacting to Peter Berg’s instance in taking one of the best martial artists in film and making so you can’t actually see what he does… it’s just a disaster. Especially considering that Berg CAN direct action. The script is amateur, the acting film school worthy and the story, ultimately, pointless. Yet it has flashes of what Berg CAN do when he’s on fire but sadly this is much more like Battleship than Lone Survivor.
Best Bit: It does have some nice action… when you can see it
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Avoid
If You Liked this Try: Lone Survivor, Deep Water Horizon, Patriots Day
Grosse Point Geek casts his critical eye over the latest (some sometimes greatest) releases… this time out: Mile 22
Director: Peter Berg
Principal Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, Rhonda Rousey, John Malkovich
Plot in a nutshell: A elite US special ops team in Indonesia are tasked with aiding in the escape of a local police officer (Iko Uwais) out of the country in exchange for the location of cache of stolen chemical weapons. Their only problem is that the airport is 22 miles away and the entire Indonesian intelligence agency are hot on their tails.
What worked: The action scenes – gunfights, car chases, explosions, hand to hand combat – all expertly staged, extremely brutal and very exciting -especially those featuring Iko Uwais – who, frankly is a martial arts god. Its also well directed by Berg and zips along at a superb breakneck pace
What could have been better: Wahlberg is annoying and a tad dislikeable as the leader of the special ops team – and seems to play these types of characters in just about every action film he ever appears in. Also director Peter Berg’s quickfire editing needed reigning in a bit, plus sticking a wig on Malkovich was a somewhat catastrophic decision by the wardrobe department.
Best scene: The hospital fight sequence – an enormous bout of fisticuffs featuring the astounding Iko Uwais versus two Indonesian government goons who have been sent to kill him.
Summary Review: Not perfect and Wahlberg badly needs a new MO – but a great action film nonetheless, refreshingly non pc, very violent and really really entertaining.
The Review: UGH! You know, this probably would have been deserving of a higher grade if it weren’t for that flippin’ epilogue lasting about seven minutes, chronicling all the real life counterparts of the rather wonderful dramatization that preceded it.
Oh, please don’t get me wrong – these brave, sincere soldiers stationed in Fuckknowswhere, Afghanistan, are braver than I’ll ever be, and clearly what they went through was a massive ordeal, but you really don’t have to pummel me with a blow-by-blow account on what they looked like. I don’t need to see them with their loved ones, with accompanying captions telling us just how awesome they were and what most of them are clearly not doing now. The heart-tugging score and overblown sincerity of it all is frustratingly at odds with the remainder of the film.
I’ve pretty much summed up the contents of the movie in the above paragraph – and it’s called Lone Survivor, you figure it out – as a handful of mercenaries led by Mark Whalberg lead the charge to find and kill Ahmed Bahhndrarrbdhad Snr and friends. Lone Survivor, without beating too much about the bush, is Predator without the predator. I love that idea. They fly in, highly charged, super-stoked and land on the ground and get on with finding the bad guy. They do find him, and spy on him for a bit. This time, though, there’s no “Knock Knock!” as they find themselves in a rather complex moral quandary; should they execute or free a bunch of passing bad guys? Of course, the film sees fit to supply us with the meatheaded tool with guns for a vote to kill them and sod the consequences. Whalberg (Catholic, as we know) advocates letting them go and racing up to a nearby mountain to call air support and nix the whole venture. The others sort of stand around taking sides.
I won’t spoil what the decision was. Needless to say, in fact, that either of those routes would have precipitates what follows – Call of Duty: The Movie.
Now, I love Call of Duty (I’m especially fond of the Modern Warfare series) and fuck me backwards, diagonally and inside out if Lone Survivor wasn’t story boarded and photographed by those at Infinity Ward. It wasn’t, but you get my point. Bullets aplenty are fired. Squibs go off. The red stuff sprays everywhere; in exploded fragments of skull, torsos (mainly) and deep, vicious cuts and bruising.
Thanks to Peter “I’ll Always be Jonathan Parker out of ‘Shocker’” Berg’s direction, it’s easy to follow and immensely entertaining. Thanks to Peter Berg’s writing, it’s (Alert: backhanded Compliment Incoming) extremely easy to follow and not too deep, despite its ethical dilemma at the forty-five minute mark. Berg is to cinema, what Michael Bay is to toys – appropriate. Both these guys have the visual restoration, but barely the faintest idea of how to successfully embed anything more than the Lett side notes of actual morality or emotion. And it’s just as well. I don’t want my Call of Duty: The Movie to be full of that nonsense. I want guns. I want one guy (yeah, it’s him) to end up being the Lone Survivor and spend the next few days in Hell and try to figure out how to survive.
In short – Lone Survivor is a lot of fun. It’s two hours… at least, that’s what that closing epilogue feels like. It’s just a shame it was based on “a true story” so we could have been spared that saccharine-soaked closer. I gather the yanks are lapping up this exceptionally fun and jingoistic, macho toss at the US Box Office right now. Good on ‘em.
A recent Instagram picture showed a notice up on the movie theatre boards saying they had pulled all the other movies to accommodate the pressing demand for this movie. It’s easy to see why. “Her” was one of the movies they pulled. Those damn southerners; they may be easily distracting by guns and ammo, but at least they have taste