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Softer PG-13 titles generally define the modern era of action filmmaking, but now and then we get something insanely violent and hard-R. This summer, one of the key entries in that line is Peter Berg's Mile 22, which has enlisted The Raid: Redemption's Iko Uwais to deliver some seriously insane hand-to-hand fighting sequences -- such as a mid-movie showstopper in an infirmary. The moves may seem violent to the layperson, but in a recent interview, Uwais opened up to me and explained that the rhythmic sequences are almost like a dance to him. The Indonesian actor explained:
Everything is under control. I'm still safe, it's choreographed and everything for every single fight. So, me and those guys, we trust each other. It's like, even really fast movements. It's really more powerful, it's really 'violent,' I don't think it's like violent. It's almost like 'rhythm.' Almost like a dance. When you kick, and you punch. When the fighters kick me, I can give him the react.
So, while those kicks and punches may look painful and hard-hitting, Iko Uwais and his team have carefully planned out every hit to make sure that it looks perfect on the screen. Some extensive choreography goes into scenes like the infirmary fight (which is essential, as Uwais wore very little clothing in the scene), but the preparation ensures trust between the performers, so they can realistically react without getting genuinely hurt.
Of course, none of that changes the fact that Mile 22 still delivers on the violence front. The movie is bloody and brutal, which was important to Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg because that violence and intensity reflect the real lives of actual CIA officers who spend their lives fighting on the front line of this type of war. This may be their first original collaboration after true story movies like Lone Survivor and Patriots Day, but they still wanted a sense of intense authenticity that's not often seen in the action genre.
Mile 22 centers its story on a group of special forces operatives and CIA officers known as Overwatch stationed in Southeast Asia. When a mysterious informant comes forward with vital information essential to national security, the group leaps into action to get him to a nearby airstrip (which is 22 miles away from their base) to exfiltrate out of the country. Along the way, they find themselves forced to go head to head against an elite group of corrupt cops and government officials, creating a battlefield that spans the length of the city. In addition to Iko Uwais, Mile 22 also stars Transformers star Mark Wahlberg, The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan, Furious 7's Ronda Rousey, and Deepwater Horizon's John Malkovich.