John Triton is the
old-school Rambo-type of movie hero. He can engage in
hand-to-hand contact with dozens of men, be inside an exploding building
(four times!) or an incinerated car, be in the direct path of submachine gun
fire (countless times), plummet to the earth from great heights, get
attacked with a chain, a sledge hammer and a chainsaw – and still not get a
scratch. Even the autos he drives seem to share his weird immortality.
They can be riddled with gun shots, have their roofs shorn off, lose their
hoods and bumpers and yet miraculously never get a flat tire or have their
engine even start to sputter or slow down.
In fact, the only way that
it appears possible to stop Triton even temporarily is to bash him over the
skull with something hard. Even if you do, you better get your ass
away fast, because that will only slow him a short time. Then he's
The Marine is the
movie debut of John Cena, who is apparently a professional
wrestler. In fact, this movie is a production of WWE Films. (Who knew
there was such a thing?) Apparently the moderate (very moderate) film
success of The Rock has them thinking that there is a big market for
wrestlers in action films. I have to assume that Cena can act better in the ring than he can on
screen. Not that he is horrible, just that he is so deadpan that it's
hard to tell what he's thinking.
Cena is admittedly
obscenely buff, though one early make out scene between him and Nip/Tuck's
reminded me of Groucho Marx' old jab at Tyrone Power – I don't like
movies where the guy's boobs are bigger than the woman's.
Still, Cena is able to run
long distances, fight off bad guys and lift heavy things convincingly, which
is really all this action potboiler asks of him. Well, it does
also ask him to convince us that he is madly in love with his wife – which
is a little beyond his range, but actions speak louder than words.
As a former Marine and
Iraqi War hero, Triton is unceremoniously discharged when he disobeys a
direct order – despite the fact that by doing so he single-handedly
destroys an Iraqi prison camp and frees the US POWs. Now, this movie
may have come out a little late to ride the Iraq bandwagon, that ship has
pretty much sailed. Therefore the majority of the film shows the
marine adjusting to civilian life.
Triton immediately loses
his first real-world job as a security guard by throwing a trouble-maker through a
plate-glass window. Therefore Triton and wifey (Carlson) decide to
just hit the road and have a nice time. When, by chance, they run
across a group of murderous diamond thieves the wife is kidnapped and Triton
must track the bad guys across a swamp – blowing up lots of things as they
The main bad guy, Rome, is
played by Robert Patrick, who seems to be mostly having fun with his clichéd
role. It does seem though, that real anger flashes in his eyes when
the movie makes the inevitable Terminator reference.
The Marine isn't
really trying to be a good film and it isn't really one. However, for
what it is – a Chuck Norris/Steven Seagal/Jean-Claude Van Damme shooting
gallery for the new millennium – it certainly does the job. (2/07)