×

The Marine

"The Marine" will trigger a strong sense of deja vu for anyone who recalls the slapdash, slam-bang action fare that was standard-issue drive-in fodder during the 1970s. John Cena retro star vehicle likely will beat a hasty retreat from megaplexes and forage for profits while invading vidstores in the not-so-distant future.

With:
John Triton - John Cena Rome - Robert Patrick Kate Triton - Kelly Carlson Morgan - Anthony Ray Parker Angela - Abigail Bianca Van Buren - Jerome Ehlers Bennett - Manu Bennett Vescera - Damon Gibson Joe - Drew Powell Frank - Frank Carlopio

“The Marine” will trigger a strong sense of deja vu for anyone who recalls the slapdash, slam-bang action fare that was standard-issue drive-in fodder during the 1970s. Junky, jokey and sometimes both at once, pic marks yet another attempt by World Wrestling Entertainment to establish one of its burly superstars as a movie lead. In the title role, however, frosh thesp John Cena evidences little of the swaggering dynamism he has demonstrated while grappling — and, occasionally, rapping — in the ring. His retro star vehicle likely will beat a hasty retreat from megaplexes and forage for profits while invading vidstores in the not-so-distant future.

Opening scenes intro John Triton (Cena) as a gung-ho leatherneck on duty in Iraq. During a stealth assault on an Al Qaeda camp, he disobeys a directive to wait for support and single-handedly exterminates scores of enemy combatants while freeing some captured Marines. He’s a hero, of course, but that means little to his by-the-book commanders. For failing to follow orders, he’s discharged from the service and shipped back home to South Carolina.

Not surprisingly, scripters Michell Gallagher and Alan McElroy don’t give John much R&R time with Kate (Kelly Carlson), his curvy cutie of a wife. While the couple is en route to a camping vacation, Kate is abducted by trigger-happy jewel thieves who need the “insurance” of a hostage. Naturally, the bad guys don’t count on being pursued by a one-man commando team on a search-and-destroy mission.

Making his debut as a feature helmer, TV commercial vet John Bonito aims for wall-to-wall action spiked with tongue-in-cheek humor. But he tries too hard during scenes of hand-to-hand combat, which he overedits into blurry abstractions, and he’s much too fond of shooting characters in slo-mo as they casually walk (or desperately run) from cheesy-looking fiery explosions.

In sharp contrast to the R-rated ’70s actioners that are its obvious influence, “The Marine” is relatively subdued when it comes to rough stuff. There’s a purposeful cartoonishness to much of the mayhem — John continues a high-speed chase in a commandeered police car even as the baddies blast the vehicle apart — and a conspicuous avoidance of graphic violence. If Bonito wanted to ensure a PG-13 rating so he could reach the widest possible swath of the WWE fan base — well, mission accomplished.

As if to compensate for the stiffness of his leading man, Bonito has encouraged all manner of mugging, shrugging and wink-wink, nudge-nudging from the villains of the piece. As ringleader of the murderous fugitives, Robert Patrick steals every scene that isn’t bolted to the floor with his dry, deadpan delivery of wisecracks, putdowns and even expository dialogue. (Phoning a cohort, he sighs: “I think I can now add kidnapping to my list of atrocities.”) But Anthony Ray Parker gets even bigger laughs as a beefy black henchman who take great umbrage at real or imagined racial slights and reacts with amusing outrage when a cohort suggests a minivan as a getaway vehicle.

Exteriors shot in Australia double convincingly for South Carolina locales. (At least half of the storyline involves a long trek through swamp country.) Overall, though, “The Marine” looks like a production that placed great premium on the pinching of pennies and the cutting of corners.

Popular on Variety

The Marine

Production: A 20th Century Fox release presented in association with WWE Films of a WWE Films production. Produced by Joel Simon, Kathryn Sommer Parry, Jonathan Winfrey. Executive producers, Vince McMahon, Matt Carroll. Co-producer: Jed Blaugrund. Directed by John Bonito. Screenplay, Michell Gallagher, Alan McElroy, from a story by Gallagher.

Crew: Camera (color), David Eggby; editor, Dallas Puett; music, Don Davis; music supervisor, Randy Gerston; production designer, Herbert Pinter; art director, Daryl Porter; set decorator, Mandy Willaton; costume designer, Graham Purcell; sound (Dolby Digital), Paul Brincat; stunt coordinator, Chris Anderson; associate producer, Frank Carlopio; assistant director, Stuart Wood; second unit director, Conrad Palmisano; casting, Tom McSweeney, Maura Day Group, Donna Rosenstein. Reviewed at Cinemark Tinseltown Westchase, Houston, Oct. 13, 2006. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 91 MIN.

With: John Triton - John Cena Rome - Robert Patrick Kate Triton - Kelly Carlson Morgan - Anthony Ray Parker Angela - Abigail Bianca Van Buren - Jerome Ehlers Bennett - Manu Bennett Vescera - Damon Gibson Joe - Drew Powell Frank - Frank Carlopio

More Film

  • Fox Searchlight Buys 'The Personal History

    Fox Searchlight Buys 'The Personal History of David Copperfield'

    Fox Searchlight has acquired North American rights to “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” Armando Iannucci’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel of the same name. The deal comes in advance of the film’s Toronto International Film Festival bow on Sept. 5, as well as its BFI London Film Festival premiere on Oct. 2. The studio [...]

  • on day 3 of the London

    Barbara Broccoli, Richard Curtis, Passion Pictures Team on Paralympics Documentary

    Oscar-winning British production company Passion Pictures is teaming up with James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and filmmaker Richard Curtis on a new feature documentary about the Paralympic Games. The project, currently titled “Harder Than You Think,” brings together Passion’s John Battsek with producer Greg Nugent of HTYT Films, with Broccoli and Curtis both serving as [...]

  • Tribeca Film Insitute's PitchNY Program Now

    Tribeca Film Institute's PitchNY Program Kicks Off (EXCLUSIVE)

    College students and recent alumni in New York can apply to the 4th annual PitchNY program, an effort to help young, diverse directors, producers and writers fine-tune their pitching skills, as well as to connect them with entertainment industry professionals who will serve as mentors. On Thursday, Tribeca Film Institute, The New York State Governor’s [...]

  • La-camarista

    ‘The Chambermaid’ Cleans Up in the U.S.

    SANTIAGO, Chile — Call it the “Roma” effect but Mexican newcomer Lila Aviles’ engaging portrait of a hotel servant, “The Chambermaid” (“La Camarista”) has found outstanding reception in the U.S. and in multiple territories, giving hope to other arthouse films from Latin America and elsewhere that seek distribution in “fortress America.” “‘Roma’ was a beautiful, brawny and [...]

  • Beograd 20.03.2012 Milutin Petrovic, reditelj, scenarista,

    Lost Script by ABC Studios Editor Turned Into Movie and Series 'Bad Blood'

    An ambitious new Serbian feature film and 10-part television series set in the Ottoman Empire of the 19th century has emerged from a long lost script by a former editor at ABC Studios in New York City. Belgrade-based This and That Productions is producing “Bad Blood,” based on the works of renowned Serbian writer Borisav [...]

  • Gael Garcia Bernal on the Power,

    Gael Garcia Bernal on the Power, Responsibility of Cinema to ‘Provoke’

    Gael García Bernal said acting for the likes of Oscar winners Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón helped groom him for the director’s chair and praised cinema as “the only medium” that allows artists to “explore the gray areas” in unparalleled ways. “The world is so full of certainties now, and cinema is the one that [...]

  • Gareth Jones

    Samuel Goldwyn Films Takes U.S. Rights to Berlin Competition Title 'Mr Jones'

    Samuel Goldwyn Films has taken North American rights to Agnieszka Holland’s “Mr. Jones.” The period thriller debuted in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Set on the eve of World War II, “Mr. Jones” stars James Norton as Gareth Jones, an ambitious young journalist who travels to Moscow to uncover the truth behind [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content