While The Marine‘s real-world connections to the war in Iraq are brief and incidental to its minimal plot, that fact doesn’t make its reductive attitudes any more pleasant to swallow. After being unfairly discharged from the service for disregarding orders in battle, John Triton (WWE wrestler John Cena) returns to his suburban home life, where his lingering passion for the Corps does little to aid his efforts to find (and keep) a steady day job. But since The Marine has no time to explore a substantive and relevant identity crisis, it isn’t long before he’s back in action. A road trip turns sour after a shamelessly one-dimensional band of trigger-happy jewel thieves kidnaps his wife Kate (Kelly Carlson), with the seemingly indestructible John quickly in pursuit. These criminals (including Robert Patrick, sorely lacking his sexy T-1000 menace) have neither motivation nor honor; they’re blank face terrorists in a social and political vacuum, ready to be disposed of in a gloriously violent fashion. In other words: we (the United States) are the absolute good and they (everyone else) are the absolute evil, and we will indiscriminately kick as many asses as necessary in order to correct any injustice committed against us. If this justification of knee-jerk military retaliation wasn’t troubling enough, then The Marine goes one further with a string of barely passable (but nevertheless repugnant) “jokes” that play directly into the sexual insecurities and racial hang-ups of its target audience. To be fair, Cena, in his feature debut, is almost affable, but it might be that his emotionally void performance is simply more tolerable when compared to the embarrassing mugging everyone else seems to partake in. Still, even on the level of pure adrenal entertainment, The Marine comes up tepid, its many action scenes incompetently shot, spastically edited, and lacking in any sense of progression, danger, or continuity. Yet, amid all the explosions, gunfire, mechanical dialogue, pointless narrative cul-de-sacs, and padded slow-mo sequences set to lame soundtrack choices (seemingly to draw the film out to feature length), The Marine comes pretty close to achieving a histrionic level of giddy, Mystery Science Theater camp. But it doesn’t—it merely shoots blanks.
- 20th Century Fox
- 93 min
- John Bonito
- Michelle Gallagher, Alan B. McElroy
- John Cena, Robert Patrick, Kelly Carlson, Anthony Ray Parker, Abigail Bianca, Jerome Ehlers, Manu Bennett, Drew Powell, Frank Carlopio
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