Mark Wahlberg has a new action thriller coming out. As a morale-boosting bonus, our troops in Afghanistan will be privileged with a free advance screening of the film ‘Mile 22.’
The movie is scheduled for public release on August 17, but the troops at Bagram Air Base will get their sneak peek from August 11 to 15, thanks to STXfilms, which is a division of STX Entertainment, and their partnership with Air Force Exchange Service. The U.S. Embassy at Kabul will also be screening the film the same dates.
Beginning August 4, the film will also be presented at 12 Army and Air Force Exchange Service “Reel Time” theaters on bases in the continental U.S.
Navy and Marines won’t be left out. Free advance viewings are headed to the base theater at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and the Sharkey Theater on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.
Wahlberg is cast as CIA operative James Silva. In charge of a “top-secret” tactical command team, Silva’s challenge is to “retrieve and transport an asset who holds life-threatening information to Mile 22 before the enemy closes in,” the AAFES synopsis relates. “If we fail, there is no backup plan.”
Backing Wahlberg up on the silver screen are John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, and Ronda Rousey. A reviewer for IMDB called it “a visceral modern thriller.”
As Army Colonel Scott McFarland, Region Commander of AAFES Europe and Southwest Asia, explains, “For our troops deployed overseas, simply watching a movie is a motivating, two-hour respite from their stressful day-to-day activities.”
His posted announcement relates “since they can’t be with their families and friends, it’s a way to say ‘Thank you, we appreciate what you’re doing for all of us.’”
STXfilms president of domestic distribution, Kevin Grayson, also contributed to the announcing statement, “It is always an honor to have one of our films selected to be screened for our brave troops overseas, and we proudly support them and AAFES with our latest film.”
According to Entertainment Weekly, “If you thought your commute to work was rough, just wait until you see Mile 22.” They note it’s the latest collaboration between Wahlberg, known for “Lone Survivor” and “Patriot’s Day,” and director Peter Berg.
Wahlberg and Berg showed up together at last year’s CinemaCon to make the surprise announcement that they had decided to go ahead with the Mile 22 project. If all goes well, it could be “the start of a trilogy.”
Wahlberg describes the movie as “an intelligent, adult action film” and relates it has deeper possibilities for him to advance his skills. “I still don’t feel like I have the movie, the role, that defines me,” he mused before production had actually started.
According to the Exchange “Quick Facts” website, what used to be called the “PX” for “Post Exchange” started from a single War Department order in 1895 that directed “military post commanders to establish an exchange store wherever practical.”
Now, the Exchange is “the 56th largest retail organization in the U.S.” and operates “more than 2,700 facilities in 36 countries, 50 states, five U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.”
Under the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, the exchange works with major movie studios “to provide advanced screenings of first-run movies,” their web portal informs.
Even when the movies aren’t sneak peaks, DVIDS works hard to provide entertainment for the troops. They provide a “state-of-the-art, 24/7 operation owned by Defense Media Activity that provides a timely, accurate, and reliable connection between the media around the world and the military serving at home and abroad.”
Charged with keeping military service members informed and entertained, they also collect and archive all the DoD’s “visual information records.”
Through DMA, the DoD offers a hotline of communication, disbursing news and relevant information to forces “deployed worldwide, on land, sea, and air.” The network includes “radio, tv, Internet, print media, and emerging media technologies.”
There is a multitude of benefits besides a secure communications network that makes DVIDS indispensable to modern U.S. warriors. No longer do they have to sit in the desert or jungle hoping for a comedian or some pretty girls to put on a show if the enemy permits.
Service men and women have constant access to content such emails, text alerts, social media channels, podcasts, and apps.
When not used for entertainment, soldiers in the field can get immediate, first-hand bulletin information and command intelligence straight from the principal subject matter experts. Military produced broadcasts can be distributed through the Internet directly to mainstream media outlets and through satellite broadcasts.
By feeding everything through a central hub, a searchable archive is created. During the holidays, “deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines” can send messages to their loved ones back home.
Armed Forces Entertainment also strives to bring the best in American entertainment to troops and family members stationed around the globe in remote and isolated locations. “From downrange, makeshift stages to show-stopping extravaganzas, the performances provide rewarding and hard-earned downtime for our troops. It’s their commitment to duty that deserves our utmost gratitude and appreciation.”