A spy story starring Mark Wahlberg as the leader of a double-secret CIA assassination squad, "Mile 22" delivers carnage, gunplay, car crashes and explosions with a serrated-edged savagery. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.

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Movie review

“Mile 22” is one nasty piece of work. It’s an action picture that’s hard-core to the core, populated entirely by killers with nary a truly sympathetic figure among them. But it does deliver. Which is to say it delivers great gouts of bloody carnage, gunplay and car crashes and explosions past counting. It delivers them with a serrated-edged savagery that kicks viewer pulse rates into hyperdrive.

And when it’s over you may not feel so good. You’re left with a sense of having been pummeled to pudding by the sheer relentlessness of it all.

It’s a spy story starring Mark Wahlberg as the leader of a double-secret CIA assassination squad that operates so far off the books that higher authority denies such books even exist.

His character is a high-strung dude given to constantly snapping a rubber band on his wrist in a futile effort to relieve his sky-high stress. Snap-snap.

He speaks the same way: snap-snap snapping at everyone around him. Badgering, bullying, browbeating. And when the situation calls for it, blowing people away.

Director Peter Berg has decreed that “Mile 22” be edited in a similar fashion, with quick snap-snap cuts to juice up the intensity.

That intensity gets a turbo boost thanks to the presence of Indonesian actor Iko Uwais who came to international prominence through his electrifying performance in 2011’s Indonesian action hit “The Raid: Redemption” and its 2014 sequel “The Raid 2.” A master of the martial art of silat, he snap-snap-snaps leg bones, arm bones and necks of baddies in fight scenes Berg clearly patterned after Uwais’ work in those earlier pictures.

Uwais’ character is a double agent holding a secret to the whereabouts of a some lethal radioactive material. He wants the U.S. to give him asylum. For that to happen, he has to be transported 22 miles to an airfield in his native country where an American military plane awaits to fly him to safety. Approximately a million killers lie in wait to stop Wahlberg and his team from getting him there.
Bang bang. Snap snap. Hold on to your seats for this one.

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★★★ “Mile 22,” with Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais. Directed by Peter Berg from a screenplay by Lea Carpenter. 95 minutes. R. Multiple theaters.