Good evening! Welcome to another double feature review on my blog. August has a really bad reputation in the world of cinema. I’m starting to see why. The end of summer tends to be a really lackluster time for major films and 2018 doesn’t seem to be changing any trends. I saw Mile 22 and Alpha, which had great theatrical trailers. Ultimately, I have mixed views on these films. Are either of these movies worth seeing in theaters? I’ll tell you all about it below.
First, I’m going to talk about Mile 22. It’s a crime thriller that focuses on an anti-terrorism unit who needs to bring an important double agent to safety. The informant has important details about an upcoming terrorist strike that could decimate multiple cities across the globe. Unfortunately, he’s not going to talk unless they help him reach asylum to the United States. As a result, the team needs to help him cross twenty-two urban miles that are full of enemies. Expect a ton of violence along the way.
What a stinker! Mile 22 is definitely the worst film I’ve seen this year! The movie has very few redeemable elements, but I can mention some details in a single paragraph. Iko Uwais portrays Li Noor, the film’s informant and double agent. He probably gives the strongest performance in the film and has the most interesting character. Noor doesn’t have enough character development, but he’s absolutely better than everyone else. If the film was stronger, I’m sure he would have been a decent action star. The action scenes get somewhat better in the second half of the film. It becomes more exciting and brutal. I think the opening scene is pretty good and the ending is fine too. Actually, the end has a twist that I didn’t see coming and it’s kind of interesting.
Don’t expect any more good news. I’m really disappointed with the story. It’s dull and tedious with a distinct lack of action. I thought Mile 22 was going to have great action sequences, but they’re so sparse. The movie drags and feels like such a slog. It’s somewhat confusing and the plot needs more detail. In a way, it’s like the story is missing several important elements to tie everything together in a linear format. It’s very sloppy writing with bad dialogue.
Furthermore, the characters range between annoying and irrelevant. The main characters, including James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) and Alice Kerr (Lauren Cohan) have revolting personalities. They’re difficult, whiny, and ill suited for careers in the CIA. In fact, the entire team seems to be incompetent. They’re not prepared to face organized terrorists and make very careless mistakes. If they’re supposed to save the world one of these days, we’re all going to die. The film has weak villains and a bland supporting cast with hardly any character development. I expected characters to die in this type of movie, but it didn’t matter because everyone was so unmemorable.
Even the actions scenes disappointed me. Sloppy film editing is the main problem. The action sequences are pieced together quite awkwardly. It makes the action jarring and hard to watch. There’s isn’t any fluidity. Truthfully, this film will probably give some people headaches and nausea because it has so much shaky cam. Sadly, Mile 22 isn’t fun to watch. It’s not going to satisfy many action fans.
I have much better news for Alpha. It’s an adventure film that takes place during the Ice Age. A young caveman named Keda becomes injured and separated from his tribe. After surviving an altercation with a wolf, the two foes become friends and help each other survive while they search for Keda’s family. Time is against the two allies because they need to reach his tribe before the treacherous winter hits.
Alpha is a coming of age film with a nice story. If the viewer doesn’t think too hard, the movie is a very pleasant experience. I think the plot makes a lot of sense and it shows an enjoyable, although theoretical story about early man’s ability to domesticate dogs. The two companions build a lovely partnership and help each other survive against various forms of adversity. They battle tumultuous weather, dangerous animals, and a constant search for food. Keda has to grow up very quickly in this film as a means to survive. Throughout his journey, Keda learns many skills including hunting, foraging, first aid, and more. Some of the story’s elements seem pretty realistic and it shows the viewer an accurate representation of the alpha personality, human or otherwise.
The visual elements are probably Alpha’s strongest components. It has wonderful world building with lush prehistoric environments. I really appreciate the cinematography and VFX. The landscape adds a little more excitement to certain scenes and I like the small scale visual elements too. For example, I like the clothing, weapons, and tools. Alpha reminds me of National geographic in some ways. It’s a refreshing experience because this movie isn’t about superheroes, apocalyptic events, space battles, World War II, or other popular topics.
This film has one major problem. It’s has serious pacing issues. Even though the runtime is only an hour and forty minutes, it feels much longer. It takes quite a while for the movie to head anywhere. The best scenes happen in the third act. I find Alpha very interesting, but it drags frequently. It needs a little more action or something in the story that pushes the pace forward. I realize that would require a bigger budget, but it might have been a smart decision.
I can’t figure out this movie’s target audience either. This is a very small complaint, but I don’t know if Alpha is targeting adults or kids. It doesn’t seem to be targeting young adults. A lot of children will find this film boring. This movie includes subtitles because early man didn’t speak modern English and a lot of kids probably won’t like that part. However, some adults might not find enough action, complexity, or adult themes.
Overall, you don’t need to see either of these films on the big screen. In fact, I recommend skipping Mile 22 all together. I’m not even sure if either of these movies are still playing in most theaters because they were box office flops. Alpha would be a good experience on streaming or Blu-Ray. I’m probably going to buy it on Blu-Ray at some point. For some reason, August doesn’t have good luck with cinema. Hopefully, September will be somewhat better.
That’s all for now. Have you seen Mile 22 or Alpha? Tell me about your thoughts in the comment section. Watch out for more exciting posts and take care.
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