|Kelly Carlson and John Cena in The Marine
Ah the '80s, those glory days of action flicks when it was generally understood an explosion couldn't actually hurt you as long as you were running away from it.
A second-rate Schwarzenegger, WWE star John Cena actually acts out this hack action-flick imagery several times in the course of the cartoon revenge flick The Marine -- a movie I liked a lot better the first time when it was called Commando.
But then that movie was funny. And though Cena may one day make a pretty good killer-android, words, let alone funny ones, don't exactly trip off his tongue.
Which is not to say that exec-producer Vince McMahon and his WWE Films folk don't recognize the role of humour in a movie like The Marine. In fact, they put wrestling's best "comedy" writers to work giving the bad guys "funny" things to say.
Like, say, when a slumming Robert Patrick -- the leader of the dumbest bunch of master criminals ever -- is on the run in a South Carolina swamp and kills one of his own guys for being annoying. Cue the stock footage of alligators crawling out of the water. "I thought you said there were no crocodiles," says one. "They're alligators," his buddy replies. "Are they hungry?" -- (munch, munch) -- "Not anymore."
WHAT YOU THINK
Will you go see The Marine?
Already have! - 6%
I plan to - 13%
Maybe - 17%
No way - 64%
Despite such efforts, the funniest parts of The Marine
are actually unintentional. Like the opening scene -- which could be straight out of a Zucker brothers movie -- in which Cena, as superMarine John Triton, intervenes in the beheading of captive U.S. soldiers by a cell of Al Qaeda in Iraq. He stands in the room as every Tom, Dick and Mohammad fires at him point-blank with machine guns. Natch, they miss. Natch, he doesn't.
Unfortunately, Triton disobeyed orders in rescuing his boys. So next thing you know, he's discharged and sent home to his wife (Kelly Carlson) in South Carolina to look for work.
Hijinks of a sort ensue. He gets fired from his job as a building security guy for "overreacting." But the play's truly afoot when he and his wife take a get-away-from-it-all drive to the mountains and, at a gas bar, encounter the aforementioned bad guys who've just gotten away with $12 million in diamonds while blowing up half the downtown and killing a couple of cops. A couple of gas explosions and another cop-killing later, the bad guys are on the lam in Triton's car with his wife.
1 Hour, 33 Minutes
John Cena, Robert Patrick, Kelly Carlson
A top Marine is discharged for disobeying orders after an unauthorized rescue of American soldiers in Iraq. Stateside, he accidentally encounters a gang of jewel thieves who take his wife hostage, and he sets out to free her and take revenge.
Sun Rating: 1 out of 5
All this takes about a half-hour, which leaves an interminable amount of time in the swampy backwoods disposing of hillbilly drug-traffickers, etc., before the inevitable ass-kicking and revenge taking -- though Triton's killing-machine status seems to vary depending on who he's fighting.
C'mon Robert Patrick can't be that hard to beat up -- especially when he's all dispirited and depressed about being in a movie like this.
I liked it a lot better when it was called Commando. Wrestler John Cena is a wannabe Arnie (minus acting range and sense of humour) who similarly outruns explosions and dodges machinegun bullets while wiping out bad guys. A movie so dumb it may actually cause brain damage.
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