If you accept some nagging loose ends and intentionally jagged filmmaking, this is an enjoyable action thriller with some surprises. Director Peter Berg and Wahlberg's fourth collaboration, Mile 22 has some of their hallmarks: gritty style, vérité, handheld camera work, a macho vibe, and violence. But there are two major differences. First, Wahlberg attempts a full-on characterization (for better or worse, he's not known as a transformational actor) and only occasionally succeeds. And second, Berg opts for a machine-gun filmmaking style, and that's not a good thing. The editing and cinematography choices make it difficult to follow the action, which is a shame when they've cast Uwais (The Raid), one of today's most exciting martial-arts stars. You simply can't see what he's doing much of the time. In style, the movie is more like The Bourne Supremacy than, say, Mission: Impossible -- Fallout. That approach may, at times, be related to Wahlberg's character, who has his own challenges to deal with. Perhaps Berg was trying to convey the jumble in Silva's head, but the characterization and approach are inconsistent.
It's fascinating to see the movie's modern warfare elements, melding boots-on-the-ground action with high-tech, eye-in-the-sky support. And there are interesting contemporary references, including to Russian hacking as a plot element. Cohan ratchets up her action cred from zombie slaying in The Walking Dead to trained killer here. The script has both good moments (including a funny but profane rant by Terry Kinney) and head-scratching ones (the framing device of a debriefing isn't helpful, and the ending will leave many wondering about some things). And you have to be very willing to suspend your disbelief during scenes like the one in which this supposedly ultra-secret team conducts all-out warfare in broad daylight in a busy city before countless cameras. Still, Mile 22 brings the type of action scenes genre fans want and goes to some surprisingly dark places.