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Wahlberg eyes franchise with 'Mile 22'

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By Shirrel Rhoades
Columnist

Friday, August 17, 2018

Mile 22 — that’s the distance to safety for an Indonesian policeman being targeted by a crime lord. There, a plane is waiting to spirit him out of the country. It’s up to some low-level CIA agents to get him there.

A gauntlet, you might call the plot.

Mark Wahlberg (the former Marky Mark, now an A-list actor/producer) is cast as James Silva, a CIA agent on the downturn, being punished for screwing up an assignment, tucked away in a remote station in Indonesia.

Ronda Rousey (a WWE professional wrestler and mixed martial arts champ) and Lauren Cohan (TV’s “Walking Dead”) make up his team.

Their job is to get the endangered policeman (Iko Uwais, an Indonesian stuntman and fight coordinator) to Mile 22.

Standing in their way are the thugs who work for mobster James Bishop (John Malkovich, providing one of his nastier turns as a villain).

But someone in the CIA’s entourage seems to be a mole, tipping Bishop off to every evasive move they make. Casualties are mounting and the escort team has miles to go.

Can Silva and his team trust each other?

It’s a good match: Wahlberg has the muscle, Rousey has the moves, and Uwais can certainly hold his own. Frail old Malkovich (age 64) is not going to do much of the mixing it up himself. But he has lots of Asian minions to do that in this action-laden adventure.

Peter Berg directs this one, his fourth pairing with Mark Wahlberg (the previous three being “Lone Survivor,” “Patriot’s Day,” and “Deep Horizon.” However, Wahlberg sees this one as different, possibly laying the groundwork for a movie franchise.

“I just think the actual story, the challenge that we face with this particular team, and how this movie ends, it just sets it up for a great film franchise. There are two other really cool pieces to this story that I think people are going to want to see. But in this kind of thing you never know. People have got to really love this movie to want to see another one.”

He adds, “It’s going to be a really cool combination of action with weapons and the martial arts and stuff like that. The close-quarters fighting with Iko. I think it’s going to be really cool. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised.”

srhoades@aol.com

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