News

Film review: 'The Marine'

David Hiltbrand
The Philadelphia Inquirer

The action-hero deficit has grown so desperate in Hollywood over the last decade that they're now drafting guys directly out of professional wrestling. Ah well, anything is better than Nicolas Cage in a muscle shirt, right?

At least "The Marine" is executive-produced by Vince McMahon, the seal of excellence.

WWE grappler John Cena follows The Rock onto the big screen as the title character, John Triton, a Semper Fi-guided missile who gets drummed out of the Marines because (oh, injustice!), he acted singlehandedly to save three fellow warriors from a small army of barbaric al-Qaida terrorists.

Back in the States, just as he's setting out to start a new life with his wife Kate (Kelly Carlson), she is taken hostage by a vicious gang of diamond thieves, lead by the glib, reptilian Rome (Robert Patrick of TV's "The Unit").

That tears it.

Triton has already had the thing he loves the most - the Corps - taken from him; he's not going to lose his wife, too. There follows a long relentless pursuit, as all concerned hump it through the scrub swamp of coastal South Carolina (actually it`s Australia).

Director John Bonito does a decent job with this formulaic premise. Unfortunately, he's not too good at filming hand-to-hand combat. But Bonito's positively a genius at big explosions, which is good because in the course of "The Marine," he blows up everything but McMahon's trailer. This is more a pyrotechnics display than it is a movie.

The script makes some appealing, if off-target, attempts at levity.

At least during the slow patches, you can amuse yourself by playing separated-at-birth with the cast. Cena, for instance, looks like a steroid-stoked Matt Damon. Rome's trigger-happy henchmen Morgan (Anthony Ray Parker) could double for NBA star Alonzo Mourning. And the gang's wheelman Frank (Frank Carlopio) looks like Yankee catcher Jorge Posada's skinny twin.

Patrick certainly makes for a cool villain in this, his best role since "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." And Cena as an action hero? He wisely takes an understated approach in his first outing, which makes his lack of acting skill less obvious.

But the guy is so musclebound that when a cop tells him to place his hands behind his head, Cena can't even get close. So, at least he looks the part, which in a cinematic cage-match like this is 80 percent of the battle.

___

THE MARINE

2 stars

Directed by John Bonito, with John Cena, Robert Patrick, Kelly Carlson, Anthony Ray Parker. Rated PG-13 (profanity, violence). Running time: 1 hour, 33 mins.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Music

The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.

Music

'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.

Music

​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.

Music

Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.

Music

Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.

Music

Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.