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Film / Mile 22

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Mile 22 is a 2018 American espionage action Thriller film directed by Peter Berg The film stars Mark Wahlberg as James Silva, John Malkovich as Bishop, Lauren Cohan as Alice Kerr, Iko Uwais as Li Noor, and Ronda Rousey as Sam Snow.

It tells the story of an elite CIA task force, composed of paramilitary officers from Ground Branch of Special Activities Division, that must escort a double agent for the 22 miles from the American Embassy in a nameless Southeast Asian country to an extraction point so that he will give them the code to unlock the location of some stolen radioactive material. But along the way they must deal with a whole army of corrupt special forces from that country determined to get their hands on the defector. And while all this goes on, a mysterious third party is interfering with affairs for an unknown purpose.

The film was released in the United States on August 17, 2018.

Mile 22 includes the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Alice and Sam are just as badass as any of the men, and absolutely lethal with guns, knives and their bare hands.
  • Actor Allusion: Li Noor reveals that he is a triple agent by telling Silva, "Say hello to your mother for me," shortly before Silva's command (codenamed "Mother") is ambushed. "Say hi to your mother for me" was of course the catchphrase of Andy Samberg's SNL impression of Mark Wahlberg, who plays Silva.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Silva has some sort of condition that supposedly makes him highly intelligent but also antisocial and violent. The Overwatch members speculate about what it is exactly but one of them thinks he is just an asshole.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Anatole Kuragin's line about how the CIA team is "committing a mistake" when the latter raids the FSB safe house. Was it a threat about how his mother was powerful enough to get all of them killed if they executed him? An attempt to explain that the FSB team's apparently terrorist activities weren't actually such? Or something else entirely?
    • What was an 18 year-old doing in the FSB, anyway? His Improbable Age is actually addressed in the in-universe news channels, and the story's motifs somewhat hint he might have been a Child Prodigy just like Silva used to be, but this question never gets an answer.
  • Anyone Can Die: Besides Silva, any character in the movie may die, and most of them do.
  • Arc Words: Mother and child. These words/terms came into prominence quite a number times in the movie:
    • Mother and Child 1 are Alice's and Silva's codenames in the Overwatch.
    • There is a mention of Silva's mother who died in a car crash with two out of her three children, but his father is never mentioned.
    • Alice, as a mother, has to face the prospect of losing her child as a side effect of working as spec ops.
    • At one point Silva uses a mother-and-child allegory to coerce Li Noor to find and save Alice who has been separated from them. At about the same time, Alice tearfully mentions to her attacker that she is a mother with a child to try to blindside him.
    • And most importantly, the main plot of the movie is triggered by the death of a child, which sends his mother down the path of bloody revenge.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Russians succeed in wiping out Overwatch and Silva’s team and Li Noor escapes.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: At first it seems like Axel is the main villain but at the end Li Noor and the Russians are revealed to have planned the whole thing to kill Overwatch.
  • Bloodless Carnage: An odd example, the movie has quite a bit of gore but when the cafe explodes, there are no corpses left despite there being numerous people caught in the explosion.
  • Character Tics:
    • Silva is constantly snapping a rubber band on his wrist to calm down.
    • Li Noor often counts his phalanx bones with his thumbs while in a spiritual-looking pose. He does it even when he is under a polygraph, all but stating outright that he has meditative training and is in fact lying to the machine.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: One of the Russians killed during the film's intro mission is an 18-year old, and his death is more highlighted than his fellows' demise. His death enrages his mother, a powerful Russian army general, and she takes her revenge by destroying Overwatch who is responsible for his death.
  • Child Prodigy: Silva was one, even if a particularly violent-prone one. Li Noor's tape of him playing piano as a child hints he was a prodigy too, and Anatoli Kuragin might have been one as well given his age and his presence in the FSB.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Li Noor uses everything he can find in his fights, from the armrests of hospital beds, exercise equipment, seatbelts, glass displays, and bottles.
    • This goes for just about every single operative we see get into hand-to-hand fights, they are willing to use anything they can lay hands on (broken glass, bottles, broken furniture, whatever) as a weapon. This is very much Truth in Television for such professions.
  • Creator Cameo: Director Peter Berg appears in the movie as Alice's estranged ex-husband in a video call.
  • Chess Motifs: Bishop and his team are all codenamed after chess pieces.
  • Dark Action Girl: Axel has a couple women in his group who bomb a cafe and give both Silva and Li Noor tough fights.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: The climax of the film has Silva, Li Noor, and Alice trying to escape an apartment complex where Overwatch cut the power to.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Li Noor is a low-level policeman, working as a double agent for the Americans, but in reality is working for the Russians.
  • Downer Ending: Nearly all of Overwatch is wiped out, and Li Noor gets away with everything.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: For all the build-up that Axel would be Silva's nemesis, including a vehicular stand-off in the climax, he is unceremoniously offed with a drone missile.
  • Dwindling Party: The farther they go into the mission the more members of Silva’s team are killed.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: At the end, nearly all of the team is wiped out except for Silva, Bishop, and maybe Alice.
  • Evil All Along: Li Noor is a triple agent working for the Russians, whose mission is to lure the team into the open so that they and Overwatch can be killed.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Axel never drops his friendly persona, even when in a pitched shootout with Silva.
  • Fictional Country: The bulk of the movie takes place in the Southeast Asian country of Indocarr, a transparent Fictional Counterpart of Indonesia.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Throughout the movie there are scenes of Silva being debriefed about the events that we are seeing, so the fact that he survives the mission is never in question.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Silva is the main hero, but he is also a complete Jerkass who treats everyone in his team like crap and aggravates everyone he interacts with throughout the movie.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Li Noor kills one of Axel's men by stabbing him with a broken bottle.
  • The Heavy: Axel is the most overtly villainous presence during the mission, and his actions lead to the deaths of all but two of the team members.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Overwatch is able to hack anything, going as far as being able to hack security cameras in a random Indocarran apartment building and kill the lights.
  • Informed Attribute: The opening credits graphic sequence informs us Silva is highly intellectually gifted. There's nothing in the rest of the movie that bears this out, considering how impulsive, unthoughtful and unreasonable he is all the time.
  • Jerkass: Alice's ex-husband, who intentionally made her angry enough to insult him in order to make her seem like an unfit mother to have custody of her daughter.
  • Karma Houdini: Li Noor, once it's revealed he's a triple agent and kills almost all the team.
  • Last Stand: A badly wounded Douglas props himself up behind a car and shoots as many of Axel's men as he can before going down.
  • Live-Action Escort Mission: The premise of the movie is that Silva and his team must take Li Noor from the US Embassy in Indocarr to an airfield 22 miles away in time for a plane to pick him up and take them to the US.
  • Made of Iron: Li Noor takes an absolutely brutal amount of punishment during his hand to hand fights during the movie, and he hardly looks like it.
  • Mission Control: Overwatch is a group of highly intelligent analysts and computer experts that provide support for Silva's team from a location usually over 2,000 miles away from where the operation is taking place.
  • Parental Abandonment: Silva's mother died in a car crash long before the start of the story, while his father is nowhere to be found.
  • Red Shirt: Gerald Vickers, Sam's partner in the opening. He winds up being the first person killed in the whole film.
  • Revenge: The main motivation the Russians have about killing Overwatch, due to them killing the son of a powerful general in the Action Prologue. Silva himself is motivated by revenge against them at the end of the movie.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The whole plot is revealed to be motivated by revenge. The mother of the Russian kid Silva killed at the beginning of the movie turns out to be a powerful general and the whole thing is an operation to kill Silva's team and locate Overwatch so that they can all be killed.
  • Sequel Hook: The movie ends with Silva vowing revenge against Li Noor for the death of his team and Overwatch.
  • Shower Scene: Silva chews out Alice while she's showering in the female locker room at the embassy. She's not too bothered to step out of it in front of him while wrapping herself in a Modesty Towel, but Sam later kicks him out of there.
  • Sole Survivor: Bishop is the only surviving member of Overwatch's computer staff.
  • Taking You with Me: When Sam is mortally wounded, Silva leaves her a couple of grenades, which she uses to blow herself up along with a few Indocarr mooks.
  • Uncertain Doom: Alice's fate is left unknown, as she is heavily implied to have been killed by Noor, but the audience never gets to see it and Silva avoids the subject when it comes up during the debriefing.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Silva executes a teenage boy in the film's Action Prologue. This becomes the catalyst that results in Overwatch's destruction because the boy he killed was the son of a Russian general.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Everyone on the ground except Li Noor are being tricked by him and the Russians.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Axel is willing to blow up a cafe with a little girl in it just to stop Overwatch.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Alone and cornered by one of Axel's men in the darkened apartment building, Alice breaks down in tears and pleads, "I'm a mother..." This makes him just barely drop his guard, just enough for Alice to stab him with a piece of window glass she had hidden behind her back.

"The great game continues. Today was yours... See you tomorrow."