The Marine (2006) – A Review
|John Cena is The Marine|
An eclectic group of diamond thieves are on the run from the cops. They’ve kidnapped a beautiful blonde to take along on their getaway through South Carolina swampland where they plan to sell their loot. They don’t realize the blonde’s husband is ex-Marine John Cena who doesn’t like his wife being kidnapped.
Let the action commence.
The goal of this movie was really straight forward – action and stunts. That’s it. The Marine is very much a throwback to the 80’s action cinema. Guns, chases, actual stunts being performed, and explosions…….lots and lots of explosions. It’s all very old school.
And on that curve I thought it was ok.
The Marine was made by WWE Films, so I imagine fans of Cena were the target for this when it came out and he was the main draw. The movie took a lot of punches by critics, so I was expecting something really terrible. Granted it is all pretty dumb, but honestly I found it more entertaining and had more of a willingness to embrace what it is, than say The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone’s love letter to 80’s action cinema, I’ll take The Marine over any of those flicks.
I was hoping for a big, loud, dumb Saturday night action flick and that’s pretty much what I got. There’s some fun action bits here and there, despite being filmed in that dizzying handheld, fast cut style. Kelly Carlson is nice to look at, Robert Patrick chews up every scene and piece of dialogue he’s given and there’s ludicrous, over-the-top cheesy action that takes place while characters basically shrug their shoulders after the dust settles. There’s nothing groundbreaking to any of it, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t satisfy my low explosive-filled expectations when I went into it.
Bad guy Robert Patrick leads his crew through the swamps of South Carolina with Cena on their tails. There are embarrassing attempts at character humor and one-liners which fall flat one after another. Patrick’s group of bad guys have their own little quirks which are meant to add some comedic color. They’re all pretty bad.
The bulk of the story doesn’t try to do anything special and is run-of-the-mill junk. It’s basically Cena tracking down the thieves in the swamp to rescue his wife. From there he confronts them in one scene after another and each time the bad guys think they killed him, but like all action heroes he just keeps coming.
The Marine would have been better had the movie skipped the prolonged introduction to Cena, him getting booted out of the Marines, the buildup to the jewel heist, Cena working a security job, the thieves getting a getaway car, Cena and his wife deciding to take a vacation, until finally all their paths meeting up and that’s when things really kick in.
I wasn’t keeping track, but all that must of lasted for about half an hour and it all felt rather pointless. Had they just streamlined it and just began the movie with Cena unexpectedly meeting up with the thieves at the gas station and them kidnapping his wife right after the final opening credit it would have been better.
We really don’t need to know anything about the characters or their backgrounds. Don’t try to get fancy and just get to the action and explosions. And WOW there seemed to be a lot of explosions in this movie. Slo-mo explosions to boot! Patrick even gets to do a slo-mo explosion walk. They wouldn’t want to leave that cliché out.
This is a quintessential B-movie action flick. I won’t be remembering it for very long, it didn’t suddenly make me a Cena fan and I’m certainly not anxious to see any of the string of sequels that came after this, but I’ll admit it held my interest while stuffing my face with popcorn. Once the cheesy action begins it starts to be dumb fun. It’s just a shame that they waited so long for it to kick in.