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1 Star – Disturbing


The great English novelist George Orwell is attributed to having said; “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." Here is a film that brings that chilling observation to life.


James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) leads a select CIA team under the supervision of a cold and calculating intelligence officer named Bishop (John Malkovich). They want to extract an “asset” from a tense situation in a Southeast Asian city because he has valuable information regarding components that terrorists can use to build a nuclear device. While on the surface this seems like a common yet morally debatable action of modern warfare, we are often desensitized to the horrors of this kind of story by the antics and comedy of the hero characters – from James

Bond to Spider-man.


The plot of Mile 22 is laid out well and expertly acted. From a filmmaker’s perspective, this movie is not only well done but easily sets up to become another trilogy franchise. The story pits the Americans against the modern form of the Russian KGB, along with the security forces of presumably Indonesia (although it was filmed in Bogota, Columbia). The key “asset” is Li Noor (Iko Uwais) who is a local police agent informant who is trusted by the Americans. As it turns out, his relationships are more complex than are originally revealed.


From the perspective of spiritual or moral values, the debate is endless. Must evil only be challenged and contained by a greater or equally strong evil? Does the end justify the means? Is murder a capital offense worthy of our most severe judgment of the death penalty – unless, that is, if it is done in the name of national defense? This story will challenge you on many levels, but you will have to sit through countless murders of bad and good people to answer that question.


We won’t give away the details of the extraction story, but needless to say, a lot of people lose their lives. The title of the film refers to the 22 miles between the extraction point of the US Embassy and the airport from which the “asset” is to be airlifted out of the country. CIA agent Silva lives on that thin line between crazy and sane, although the difference is sometimes hard to judge.


We may live in a world that assumes that national defense is no longer about either the Cold War or World War II, but we have to keep asking the question, “What constitutes defense today?” History may depict war as the destruction of enemy cities, and current fears may lead us to conjuring up depictions of everything from mass nuclear destruction, to tactical soldiers in the heat of some middle-eastern desert country. The reality may be that the most striking warfare is going on behind the scenes in everyday alleyways and office buildings with shootouts that are stopping unimaginable plots and horrors. Meanwhile, the rest of the world goes on with its shopping and business at hand.



  1. Do you accept that a government has the right to kill? On what moral system do you base your thinking?
  2. The warring madness of humanity is easily verified.  Where do you think that insanity resides – in the head or in the heart? Is it cured by education or transformation?
  3. If we continue this eye for eye, evil for evil, how do you think human history will end

4.     "Since this kind of warfare is hidden from view, who should determine whether or not it is moral?  Congress?  Society?  Or, just the CIA?


Posted on August 19, 2018 and filed under 1 STAR, DISTURBING.