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MILE 22: 3 STARS. “plays like a first person shooter video game.”

If director Peter Berg’s oeuvre could be boiled down to one sentence it might read something like, “American heroes battle against overwhelming odds.“ Films like “Lone Survivor,“ “The Kingdom“ and “Patriot Games“ have carved out a singular niche for Berg in the action genre. True to form, his new film “Mile 22 “ pits Berg regular Mark Wahlberg and a small team of “problem solvers” against the military might of a corrupt government.

Wahlberg plays CIA operative James Silva, a fast talker and thinker who “only responds to two things, intelligence and pain.“ He heads a team who fight the “new wars,“ the conflicts that don’t make the front pages. They live in a world of violence and “unknown knowns.” “This is dark work,“ Silva says.

Their search for deadly radioactive powder, fear powder as Silva calls it, leads to Li Noor (Iko Uwais), a Southeast Asian informant who wants out of Indonesia. The informant has a disk containing the location of the deadly stuff but will only give the code to open the disc if they guarantee his safe transport out of the country. Trouble is, the corrupt government will do whatever it takes to keep him in their borders.

“Mile 22“ is a violent movie. How violent? The GNP of some small countries probably couldn’t cover Berg’s bullet budget. By the time the informant is scraping one of his victims Max back and forth against a broken, jagged window you may wonder how many more unusual ways there are to off a person. Their handler, played by John Malkovich, says they are involved in “a higher form of patriotism” but the film’s hyper kinetic editing and palpable joy in blowing away the bad guys suggest their elevated patriotism may have a hint of psychopathy mixed in.

Large sections of the film play like a first person shooter video game. There’s even a “scoreboard” where the vital statistics of the team are listed and then go dark as they are killed.

“Mile 22“ wants to make a statement about the murky depths our protectors brave to keep us safe but ends up expending more ammunition than insight.

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