a critiQal film review The Marine (2006)

Plot: John Triton (Cena) is a heroic Marine who returns home after being discharged against his will from the Iraq War. Stateside, he finds himself back in action, when his wife (Carlson) is kidnapped by a murderous gang led by a merciless criminal named Rome (Patrick). With everything on the line, this Marine will stop at nothing to carry out his toughest and most important mission.

550 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 45s)
  • ...WWE's John Cena shows he's just as good at action scenes on the big screen - now if he can only work on getting some of his WWE personality coming through during the slower sequences...

Since we are big WWE fans, we try to never miss a film starring a WWE wrestler (No, we don’t mean Hulk “The Joke” Hogan, we’re talking current stuff starring The Rock, etc.). When we heard that WWE was starting it’s own movie production company, we were excited. And then we watched the first film from WWE Films, See No Evil (2006), and were actually impressed. For a first film, it was definitely a lot better than we had been expecting.

Then WWE Films announced movie #2: The Marine, and again, we couldn’t wait to check it out. Unfortunately, due to a rather expensive Summer At The Movies, we had to wait for The Marine to hit DVD before we could check it out.

So, would this fledgling production company aim for bigger and better with their second film, or would The Marine spell doom for movie #3 (The Condemned (2007), starring “Stone Cold” Steve Austin)?

John Cena is not what one would consider an “accomplished” actor, but his experience in WWE storylines definitely help him in The Marine. When he’s in action, he’s believable as the tough guy, and can kick butt with the rest of ’em. But, slow the action down, and have him interact with co-star Kelly Carlson, and he just falls apart. He becomes stilted in manner and action, and his lack of acting training is extremely evident. Apparently, director John Bonito caught on to this fact, so doesn’t let Cena rest for most of the film.

Robert Patrick, on the other hand, knows how to handle himself on the big-screen, and is a welcome addition to the film. While his wrinkles do give away the fact it’s been awhile since Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), he hasn’t slowed down much over the years, and is a good nemesis in The Marine.

The plot is simple and straight-forward: Cena’s character will do whatever it takes to rescue his wife from the bad guys. It’s rather simplistic, and seems to fit Cena’s character well in the film. The sub-plots, however, are rather silly.

While John’s day-in-the-life as a security guard near the beginning of The Marine is fun, and also helps showcase his difficulty in mixing back into regular society, it’s also rather pointless. Rather than coming to a resolution, the movie instead backtracks, putting John right back into the life-and-death situations he has so recently left. It negates the whole beginning of the film, as John, falling so easily back into his marine persona, never once realizes he’s screwing himself up even further in his attempt to adjust to “civilian life”…and the movie never once even mentions it.

Since The Marine ends up playing out as almost a homage to Commando (1985) (even having a preview for Arnold’s classic 80’s cheese-fest on the DVD), it’s not really a surprise this movie lacks any sort of deep-thinking. That same sort of cheese is very apparent in The Marine, but director John Bonito can’t seem to bring it all together as easily as Commando (1985) was able to.

Still, with impressive – if over-the-top – action sequences (which Cena’s had lots of practice doing), and a fun bad guy in the form of Robert Patrick, The Marine isn’t overly bad. True, it’s no Commando (1985), but it’s still worth a rental for die-hard action fans.

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