James Silva, Wahlberg's gun-toting black ops agent, has an attitude problem. He's prone to delivering pseudo-zingers like "ego is not your amigo" and quoting Donald Rumsfeld's "unknown knowns" speech, but he also antagonizes every member of his team of elite operatives -- code-named Overwatch -- by screaming at them, knocking over their breakfast plates, and, in one bizarre scene, straight-up calling them nerds. MMA-fighter-turned actress Ronda Rousey, The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan, and Sesame Street's Carlo Alban play his irritated, overwhelmed co-workers. Presumably, the American government and the overseer of Overwatch, referred to as "Mother" (a flat-top-sporting John Malkovich), tolerate him because he's just, like, so good at his job. Most viewers will be less charitable in their evaluations.
Even grading it on a curve as a right-wing paranoid fever dream, this is a loathsome movie. Berg, a filmmaker capable of effectively placing his roving camera in chaotic situations, has been freed to explore all his visual tics here, and the experience is numbing. In the opening sequence, he cuts between Russians in a suburban safe house, agents approaching the perimeter, Silva watching outside, and Malkovich's team at their desks while incorporating security camera footage, aerial drone photography, and shots of the characters' heart rates. If incoherence was the goal, well, mission accomplished.
The movie slows down a bit as the script, penned by novelist Lea Carpenter, introduces its basic action movie plot. Indonesian police officer Li Noor (The Raid's Iko Uwais) surrenders at a U.S. embassy and has urgent, top secret information -- stored in his brain, of course -- that he will only give up in exchange for safe passage to America. Silva's Overwatch commandos are tasked with getting Li from point A to point B, a challenge that should be familiar to video game enthusiasts and lovers of movies starring WWE wrestlers. How far away is the airplane the team needs to get their asset to? Twenty-two miles, baby!