Marine, The

Reviewed By Collin Souter
Posted 10/15/06 02:29:31

"Destined to be a huge hit on The Violence Channel"
3 stars (Average)

The Marine is a big, stupid meathead of a movie. It exists for no other reason than to try and put more coins in the pockets of the WWE and to blow shit up. It does the latter quite well. The opening sequence—in which the titular Marine rescues his men from the clutches of al-Queda…in Iraq—seems to signal the return of the legendary Golan and Globus, the team responsible for all those cheap Charles Bronson and Chuck Norris movies of the ‘80s. Mere seconds into this movie and already the property damage equals that of Hiroshima. It doesn’t stop there. When things explode in this film, we see it from every possible vantage point. They paid handsomely for this footage and, dammit, they’re gonna use it!

I’m pretty sure the pitch went like this:
Screenwriter #1: Okay, it’s an action movie. John Cena, the wrestler, plays a Marine and…(Pause)...Honestly, Mr. Exec, the truth is, well…we really, really, really want to brow up all of South Carolina.
Exec: (Perks up) Really.
Screenwriter # 1: Yes, sir.
Exec: (Looks at other screenwriter) You feel the same way?
Screenwriter # 2: Yes, sir. I do.
Exec: (Ponders for a moment) Do it.

Thus, The Marine was born.
In this magnum opus, wrestler John Cena makes his movie debut as a human paperweight named John Triton, a Marine who has just been kicked out of his profession for disobeying orders and is forced to go back into civilization as a low-rent security guard. To relieve stress, he and his wife (Kelly Carlson) take a drive into the country where they stop at a rustic gas station. Here, we learn a little something (actually, a little nothing) about Triton’s childhood memories of when his father took him to the mountains. We don’t learn too much about this event, because the screenwriters of this film are saving that monologue for later…from a different character, completely unrelated to Triton and for no apparent purpose.

The villains of choice in this blow-em-up are a pack of inept jewel thieves led by the sarcastic Robert Patrick. With him is a token hottie named Angela (Abigail Bianca), a token black guy named Morgan (Anthony Ray Parker) and a couple random white guys to help out. On the run from the law (the morons don’t even think to wear masks when they rob the joint), Patrick and his hench-people run into Triton and his wife at the gas station where mayhem and explosions ensue. They kidnap Triton’s wife, steal his car and call more unnecessary attention to themselves by killing a couple cops. This gives Triton another chance to do what he does best: Survive gigantic, plutonium-based explosions and grunt methodically while chasing autobound criminals by boat.

From there, the movie becomes a series of well-executed chase scenes, meaningless arguments between the jewel thieves and pointless action sequences. Now, understand, when I say pointless, I mean that two characters come into the middle of the film, add absolutely nothing to the storyline and get killed off five minutes later just so they can throw in an action sequence. That’s how desperate this movie is to fill out its 93 minute running time.

But I can’t say I had a bad time watching this piece of trash. Maybe it’s because I had a smart-ass colleague to watch it with me, but I actually have to say that the action sequences in this film are cut together quite nicely and the movie more often than not falls into the realm of “fun bad.” Director John Bonito milks every action scene for all their worth, even though the set pieces themselves have little originality. Bonito, a newcomer, can’t make anything else in this dumb-ass movie work, but he has already proven himself a solid Action Movie craftsman. Hey, just because a car goes over a cliff in flames, doesn’t mean you should stop shooting at it, right?

As you can imagine, the rest of it stinks on ice, but it’s good for a few laughs. The score is a schizophrenic series of temp tracks on shuffle mode. We hear a little techno mixed with cheezy porno music, some thrash metal mashed up with Standard Action Score and a completely out-of-place Celtic pan flute to round everything out. John Cena has little chance of being a successful screen actor, but he doesn’t seem interested anyway. His character constantly repeats “That’s not who I am” whenever the conversation centers on him being something other than a Marine. He’s no Rock either. Or at least, his name doesn’t appear to be The Rock. Only if his name appears second to Big-Ass Explosions on the marquee does he have a future in this business.

© Copyright HBS Entertainment, Inc.