Review: The Marine

marine_cov.jpgYear: 2006
Director: John Bonito
Starring: John Cena, Robert Patrick, Kelly Carlson

An ex-marine chases criminals who have kidnapped his wife.

The Marine needs less muscle, more brains. The movie is clearly intended to be a simple, fun, fast-paced action flick, but even with that premise in mind, The Marine suffers from unrealistic action, inane plot holes, and robotic acting.

If you are going to set your movie in the present day, the world should function like the present day, or you should establish early on that this is not the case and then stick to it. Unfortunately, The Marine alters reality in so many ways that it’s hard to accept the otherwise strong action sequences. In one chase scene, the protagonist, John Triton (John Cena), has a car literally destroyed around him, but no bullet ever hits him, and the car continues to plow along at incredible speed. In another scene, one poorly trained man guards millions of dollars in diamonds at a high-end jewelry store. For much of the movie, the criminals, with John Triton’s marine1.jpgdefiant wife (Kelly Carlson) in tow, plod through a swamp at a snail’s pace; a solitary John Triton starts about 20 minutes behind them, yet runs through the swamp for seemingly hours to catch up with them. Add some insanely huge plot holes (um, why keep Triton’s wife alive?) to this twisted reality and you end up with a series of action sequences supporting the barest of plots.

The script and acting don’t help, either. Great action movies don’t need great scripts or great acting, but they do need sufficient writing and passable acting. The Marine bravely tries to enhance on the simple plot by liberally mixing in some twisted banter among the criminal gang, who constantly argue and joke amongst themselves. Robert Patrick—playing the part of a gang leader with hints of delusional insanity—leads the way here, but unfortunately, he doesn’t quite pull off the act. The rest of the gang is even farther from the mark. John Cena has a Schwarzenegger-type role in the movie; even with minimal acting skills he should be able to suffice. However, he reeks of rawness; this hurts his effectiveness significantly. He’ll need to improve quickly if he wants to follow in Arnold’s footsteps.

marine_kelly_carlson.jpgAll is not lost here, however. The action sequences, as overdone and unrealistic as they are, still can entertain. …From an eye candy perspective, Kelly Carlson is gorgeous and Abigail Bianca makes the best of her looks. With a movie this dumb, though, the director really should have figured out a way to get the two of them in bikinis more often: we’d have noticed the plot bizarreness a lot less. From the female perspective, John Cena is incredibly popular with women, so the movie scores high in the hunks factor. …The pacing is fair. The movie doesn’t bog down at any point, even in the swamp. …The final confrontation was an effective, culminating action sequence.

All in all, though, the movie doesn’t make it above a 50, as the weaknesses overpower the action sequences.

Best Other Movie Reference
During one chase scene, the criminals pump round after round into John Cena’s unstoppable car. One of the criminals comments, “This guy’s like the Terminator!” The camera flashes to gang leader Robert Patrick glaring back in the rear view mirror. Nicely done! Robert Patrick was the Terminator in Terminator II! The line and the look were executed perfectly, and the theater audience laughed out loud.

Pace: 54
Plot: 12
Action: 57
Consistent Premise: 15
Script/Quotes: 24
Characters: 27
Acting: 24
Villain: 41
Body Count: 58
Time to First Dead Body: very fast
Babes: 62
Hunks: 84
Explosions: 65
Special Effects: 40
Stunts: 30
Ending: 52

Overall: 40 (Disposable)

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