THE MARINE (2006)
Starring John Cena, Robert Patrick, Kelly Carlson, Anthony Ray Parker, Abigail Bianca, Jerome Ehlers, Manu Bennett, Damon Gibson, Drew Powell, Frank Carlopio, Firass Dirani, Remi Broadway, Steve Harmon, Damien Bryson and Robert Coleby.
Screenplay by Michell Gallagher & Alan McElroy.
Directed by John Bonito.
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox. 93 minutes. Rated PG-13.
John Triton is the old-school Rambo-type of movie hero. He can engage in hand-to-hand contact with dozens of men, be inside an exploding building (four times!) or an incinerated car, be in the direct path of sub-machine gun fire (countless times), plummet to the earth from great heights, get attacked with a chain, a sledge hammer and a chainsaw – and still not get a scratch. Even the autos he drives seem to share his weird immortality. They can be riddled with gun shots, have their roofs shorn off, lose their hoods and bumpers and yet miraculously never get a flat tire or have their engine even start to sputter or slow down.
In fact, the only way that it appears possible to stop Triton even temporarily is to bash him over the skull with something hard. Even if you do, you better get your ass away fast, because that will only slow him a short time. Then he’s really angry.
The Marine is the movie debut of John Cena, who is apparently a professional wrestler. In fact, this movie is a production of WWE Films. (Who knew there was such a thing?) Apparently the moderate (very moderate) film success of The Rock has them thinking that there is a big market for wrestlers in action films. I have to assume that Cena can act better in the ring than he can on screen. Not that he is horrible, just that he is so deadpan that it’s hard to tell what he’s thinking.
Cena is admittedly obscenely buff, though one early make-out scene between him and Nip/Tuck‘s Kelly Carlson reminded me of Groucho Marx’ old jab at Tyrone Power – I don’t like movies where the guy’s boobs are bigger than the woman’s.
Still, Cena is able to run long distances, fight off bad guys and lift heavy things convincingly, which is really all this action potboiler asks of him. Well, it does also ask him to convince us that he is madly in love with his wife – which is a little beyond his range, but actions speak louder than words.
As a former Marine and Iraqi War hero, Triton is unceremoniously discharged when he disobeys a direct order – despite the fact that by doing so he single-handedly destroys an Iraqi prison camp and frees the US POWs. Now, this movie may have come out a little late to ride the Iraq bandwagon, that ship has pretty much sailed. Therefore, the majority of the film shows the marine adjusting to civilian life.
Triton immediately loses his first real-world job as a security guard by throwing a troublemaker through a plate-glass window. Therefore, Triton and wifey (Carlson) decide to just hit the road and have a nice time. When, by chance, they run across a group of murderous diamond thieves the wife is kidnapped and Triton must track the bad guys across a swamp – blowing up lots of things as they go.
The main bad guy, Rome, is played by Robert Patrick, who seems to be mostly having fun with his clichéd role. It does seem though, that real anger flashes in his eyes when the movie makes the inevitable Terminator reference.
The Marine isn’t really trying to be a good film and it isn’t really one. However, for what it is – a Chuck Norris/Steven Seagal/Jean-Claude Van Damme shooting gallery for the new millennium – it certainly does the job. (2/07)
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 3, 2007.