After the prologue, wherein the Overwatch team take out Russian spies, the opening title sequence tells the audience Silva’s backstory, his psychological profile, and how he was recruited to Overwatch. That is all the characterization he has for the rest of the movie. It is awkwardly told to the audience and never comes back into play.
But at least he got some form of development, which is more than literally any other person onscreen. I suppose Alice would be the next most nuanced character, as she is getting a divorce and misses her daughter. This begs the question, which is brought up in the movie, only for no answer to take shape- why did she have a family to begin with? This line of work means being abroad for months, possibly even years, doing life-threatening, unofficial work for the government. Why did she not move positions or get a different job in another sector entirely? Alice having a family, and then being divorced, is a lazy way to gain empathy for the character, but it does not make sense, and it does come into play, save as a cheap ploy. Not a single other person has anything to them, aside from what the actors bring to the table.
Director Peter Berg has only made one great film. It was his second feature film, The Rundown, and that is 15 years old now! Since then, he has had ups and downs, but nothing truly disastrous, but also nothing as great as their potential leads them to possibly become. When accompanied with a decent script, his style, which is blandly epic in a dull, inoffensive way, makes for a competent viewing experience (see Friday Night Lights or Deepwater Horizon). However, when the scripts are lacking in character or are unfocused (see either Battleship or Hancock), he creates mostly forgettable films.
Therefore, it is inexplicable how in the everloving hell Berg wound up with this mess on his hands. Mile 22 is unpleasant to look at in every possible way. Jacques Jouffert served as director of photography and fails to make anything about the movie standout. Colors are washed out and muted, the lighting is garish, and the chosen camera angles are wonky, off balance, and confusing. Another possibility is that there were two editors on the project, Melissa Lawson Cheung, and Colby Parker Jr. Based on the finished product, it would seem they were at war.
Randomly inserted throughout the film are shots of Wahlberg’s Silva snapping a yellow rubber band on his wrist. It is not moody, or atmospheric, or even placed in sequences that make sense to show such a thing. After losing a few team members during a highway battle, Silva goes outside the safe house to talk to Axel. He rants at the intelligence chief, explaining that even though Axel believes himself to be highly untouchable, with a tenacity that can’t be beaten, and a virtually nonexistent moral compass, Silva just might be even worse.
“Wahlberg motormouths every line, and it would be hilarious if it weren’t so misguided…”