John Cena - John Triton
Robert Patrick - Rome
Kelly Carlson - Kate Triton
Anthony Ray Parker - Morgan
Abigail Bianca - Angela
Jerome Ehlers - Van Buren
Year - 2006
Score - 0.5 Howls Outta 4
I'm not gonna lie: I used to be a huge John Cena fan. Back when he was using his rap heel gimmick in 2003, the dude was awesome. He had decent matches with The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, and the late Eddie Guerrero. He had great promo skills. And his look was fresh compared to everything else at the time. The gimmick worked to the point that it made Cena a profitable brand name. And that, my friends, was the beginning of the end for me. His matches got more limited. He character got boring. That freshness was not replaced by a corporate machine that turned a good thing into a money thing. Plus becoming the WWE Champion and staying that way for a majority of 2 years wasn't helping matters. By 2005-2006, I stopped being a Cena fan and was booing just like the majority of pro wrestling fans out there. Too much is enough, ya know? Not according to Vince McMahon it ain't!
After the "success" of the first WWE Films project, SEE NO EVIL starring Kane, McMahon wanted to make an old-fashioned 80s action film that would rival those of Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Norris, Van Damme, and that Michael Dudikoff dude that was in all those AMERICAN NINJA films. Titled THE MARINE, McMahon envisioned "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the role as the title character. However, the two had a falling out at the time, leaving McMahon with his second choice: John Cena. Sure, it made the women and children happy. But the men groaned at the thought of Cena not only being the WWE Champion, but also a movie star. And we all know that a majority of wrestlers who act in films don't do well [I'm looking at you...BROTHER!]. But Cena is a good-looking athletic guy with good promo skills. He's a natural in an action film like this. Too bad the script and logic jobbed in over to put over the star of the film.
Sergeant John Triton (John Cena) is some Super Marine who defies a direct order from his superiors during a mission to save P.O.W.s from Al Queda operatives in Iraq [Triton pretty much kicks the Iraqis ass single-handedly - oh boy]. Since he's so good at beating people up, Triton gets kicked out of the Marine Corps. Smart. Anyway after being discharged from duty, he returns home to his wife Kate (Kelly Carlson) and tries to live a normal life as a security guard [which doesn't work since Triton only knows how to be a Marine - oh geez]. Kate convinces Triton to go on a road trip to clear his head and start fresh.
At the same time, a sociopath named Rome (Robert Patrick) and his goons pull a diamond heist by shooting people and blowing up police cars [stealth isn't his strong suit]. After banging his hot babe Angela (Abigail Bianca), Rome and his gons try and escape from the cops who are after them. This escape eventually intersects with the Triton's road trip, as Triton is attacked by Rome at a gas station convienient store. Rome and his goons take Kate hostage and blow up the gas station, although Triton survives. This is bad because not only does Rome have to evade the cops, but a pissed off Marine as well. Can anyone say F-U?
I have three words for THE MARINE:
WHAT THE FUCK!!??
Now I love action films just as much as everyone else. I grew up on films like COMMANDO, FIRST BLOOD, AMERICAN NINJA, BLOODSPORT, and so on. What boy didn't want to grow up as the strong, muscle-bound hero who kicked ass through an array of weaponry and fighting techniques before taking names later? These guys were film heroes, using brains and brawn to get over the bad guys and tell the world that the U.S.A. was number one. But those days are gone, which is why THE MARINE doesn't succeed. Compared to now, the 1980s were a much more innocent time. Excess was big and watching bodybuilders smash things was cool. But in an age of internet, terrorism, and a media outlet that shows us gritty and really revealing portraits of how dark our world really is, THE MARINE looks like a cartoon more than anything. Compared to the much superior BOURNE trilogy, THE MARINE could give SURF'S UP a run for its money in the animation department. If it were 1988, this film would have worked really well. But in 2008, it's just a wannabe. And The Wolf does not like wannabes unless they're sung by The Spice Girls.
I think one of my biggest problems with this film is the physics that are applied here. Now there are a ton of explosions in this film. And I'm very cool with that. Every action film should have at least one explosion. Who doesn't like to see shit blown up? I know I do. And the SFX team worked well in creating an explosive atmosphere for THE MARINE. However...how in the fuck do people who are caught in these explosions happen to bounce off of them and survive without a scratch on them? I mean, Triton had to have been caught in like five of these things and he always made it out on time. I don't care how much military training you received - no one is THAT good. I rolled my eyes when I saw the gas station explosion, where the blast actually moves Triton AWAY from the fire instead of engulfing him in it. And the explosion where Triton actually runs away from as he dives into the river - puh-LEEZE! And explosions seem to be afraid of bad guy Rome too for some reason. And how about cars that can take 200 bullets to the engine and still run fine and not explode? Whatever. I don't mind suspending my disbelief but that suspension lost all elasticity watching this film.
What's even worse is that the story to this film is lame. It starts out interesting, as Triton is kicked out of the Marines and has to live a normal, boring life with his hot wife. You'd think the focus of the story would be on Triton's struggle to adapt to the real world, finally adjusting to it, and then when Kate gets kidnapped is when Triton struggles again with the fact that his two worlds are now colliding into one. But then again, I'm not a professional screenwriter [yet] and these people know better than I do. So the "better" idea is just have Triton never adjust to normal life [because being a Marine is the best thing in the world!] and stay in Marine mode as he chases Rome and his goons for miles and miles to get his wife back. Fuck character development. Fuck a logical deeper than usual plot. People just want to see a cliche ridden story that we've all seen done better 20 years ago by actors who have 100x the charisma and aura of badassness that John Cena has.
If I wanted to see something predictable, I'd watch TMZ for my daily "Britney Spears and her 42 personalities" stories. It's obvious we're gonna know the outcome to this film but we shouldn't know every single thing that's gonna lead up to that. Triton never really faces an obstacle in THE MARINE. He may be stopped from his goal for a few seconds, but then he just turns it around and it's like it never happened. Action films are supposed to grab the viewer and make them want to be the hero of the film. In THE MARINE, you just don't give a shit. Well I didn't anyway.
I also thought the jokes [if you can call them that] in the film were pretty lame. The black goon, Morgan, really annoyed me. He had to be one of the dumbest characters ever written for a motion picture. He babbled on about nothing [black guys don't drive mini-vans? what the fuck does that have to do with anything?] and his campfire story about his camp counselor molesting him by giving him rock candy or something stupid like that just made me groan and want the film to be over at that point. And let's not forget the whole "racial profiling" thing where Morgan blames his fellow goons for blaming him for everything, when it was all his fault to begin with! And he tried to be funny, which only made him look more retarded as words kept coming out his mouth. Really, I was insulted by this character as a film viewer. I'm sure many African-Americans were insulted by him too. Nice way to set back the Civil Rights Movement 50 years, asswipes. The only joke that worked was the one about Triton being The Terminator, which Patrick gave a look to. It also reminded me how much I actually wanted to watch THE TERMINATOR rather than this. At least THE TERMINATOR is a fuckin' GOOD film!
The direction by John Bonito is pretty cliched and predictable as well. I mean, the guy directs pro wrestling. Not really the same thing as directing a 90 minute film with actual actors who know what they're doing. I mean, it's not a bad looking picture at all. It's shot well. Bonito gives us bullets, car chases, and explosions. But that's about it. No suspense. No tension. Just a predictable action film that's trying to be part of the 80s action film crowd. It's mediocre at best.
The acting was also mediocre as well. Not that it could be good because the dialogue sucked and the development wasn't even hinted at. John Cena was okay as John Triton. All he really had to do was run, beat guys up, and make out with Kelly Carlson. Not a bad payday in my opinion. Unfortunately, his acting showed that maybe he was trying a bit too hard at times. And he doesn't have the charisma of The Rock, who probably would have made this film more watchable if he were the star. But then again, The Rock is smart enough not to step his foot into shit like this. But Cena wasn't totally bad and he didn't bother me as he was convincing at times. Just wish the character had more meat because all I saw were bones.
The beautiful Kelly Carlson was totally wasted as Kate Triton, the kidnapped wife. She had no chemistry with Cena [their relationship was never really drawn out except that they were married - and I should care because...?], was pretty much punched in the face most of the film, and screamed a lot. Her best scenes didn't require dialogue - yes, I'm talking about the catfight scenes with Abigail Bianca. Man, that was a hot little scene, watching them beat the shit out of each other. Now THAT'S a chick fight! I could have watched 90 minutes of that instead of THE MARINE, I'll tell you that much. Thankfully, Carlson has the much better NIP/TUCK to fall back on.
The only GOOD actor in this film was Robert Patrick as Rome. He was actually charming, swarmy, and downright cool. He actually seemed to be having a good time collecting a nice paycheck, I mean acting in this film. Patrick has done better stuff before though and really should have used his energy on a much better film. I was kind of hoping he'd turn into the T-1000 and just kill everyone else in the film. Would have saved me a few minutes of my precious time. And don't you just love it that the smart villain always gets his ass kicked by the strong hero? Remember kiddies - Testosterone and boneheaded machismo are great! Brains and intelligence are bad! So, who wants steroids?
THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE ATTEMPTING TO ESCAPE THIS EXPLOSIVE PIECE OF SHIT
1. John Triton tried to be impressive by taking out an Al Queda compound by himself. Man, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE did it first and better. Stay on Bakalakadaka Street, Triton!
2. Rome went to a jewelry store and used brutal force to steal diamonds. Remember, every kill begins with Kay!
3. If you're cop, your car will protect you from bullets. But it won't protect you from a rocket launcher. Damn that blows!
4. Women find Robert Patrick irresistible. I guess every girl likes to be injected with liquid metal every once in a while.
5. Black men don't drive mini-vans. They're too big and clumsy for drive-by shootings. Or so I've heard.
6. The villains had to walk through a swamp area to escape the cops. The only time I'm going near a swamp is if Adrienne Barbeau and Heather Locklear are involved somehow!
7. Morgan doesn't like big snakes. He's obviously not a mandingo.
8. Robert Patrick kept wanting Kelly Carlson to shut up. If Julian McMahon was around, her mouth would be too stuffed to talk.
9. If you tie up a pro wrestler, make sure the chair is made of steel and not wood. Only steel chairs can hurt them. If you do use wood, make sure it's a table. Pro Wrestling 101, fellas!
10. Rome used a sledgehammer on Triton. I bet Triple H is a big fan of this film. Unfortunately, THE MARINE will still be jobbing to him. I guess he is that damn good!
THE FINAL HOWL
THE MARINE is your modern 80s action flick, but with all the good stuff taken out to reveal how much of a poseur it is. If you like brainless action flicks with annoying characters and heroes that don't suffer much of a scratch after surviving multiple explosions, then this film is for you. Otherwise, don't even bother with this one. Watch a real 80s action classic instead. Or watch the much better THE CONDEMNED with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin if you're looking for a near-brainless modern action flick. THE MARINE, you have officially been discharged into the WTF? Vault. Your punishment is to restart basic training. And your first lesson is to KISS MY ASS!!!