Didn't we leave the 1980s for a reason? You know, mainly the over-the-top, cliché-ridden, one-man-army action movies so dull they hardly fall into the action category? Apparently, we've entered into some form of time warp and The Marine followed us, destined to make every movie fan miserable when they recall memories they thought they forgot.
Everything about The Marine screams '80s action filmmaking. You have the oversized hulking hero, in this case WWE wrestler John Cena sweating profusely. Follow that with explosions so large entire city blocks should be taken with them, and be sure items that shouldn't even explode go up in flaming glory. Top that off with a double-crossing bad guy that's so evil and cocky, he's meant to be entertaining.
Regardless of how the acting comes through on screen, the dialogue is agonizing. There are around 200 lines in the film that are either out of place or impossible to believe. It's to the point where you wish they were crafting an homage or parody to a lost genre, and they might have succeeded if they took this route.
The set-up, involving the theft of diamonds, has John Triton's (Cena) wife kidnapped. Kelly Carlson does what she can do with a typical damsel in distress role, one who manages to make it through swampland and get into a fist fight without so much as smearing her lipstick or eye liner. This leads to (at minimum) ten minutes of screen time that depict nothing but Cena wandering through unidentified forests in search of his bride.
Story progresses simply to make it to the next impossible action sequence or to ensure product placement is clearly in view of the camera. When there's a lull, Cena is captured by two random and unknown characters for no other reason than to escape and throw some punches. Unknown director John Bonito films the brawls in close, making it tough to decipher who is fighting who. There's far more care taken to ensure the explosions fill the frame, and there is an extravagant amount of those to show off.
A late plot twist is blatantly obvious for anyone who's viewed an action movie about a diamond heist previously. There are no surprises or tension, and the characters are tossed aside in favor of more hideously generic dialogue. The PG-13 rating means the violence level stays low.
With humor barely funny to an eight-year-old and action blatantly forced on the viewer, The Marine is a mess. It's a movie that becomes so putrid, you're mad at the people that created it. Cena could be a breakout action star, but he has to be dropped into original content. There's not a single concept here hasn't been done to death at a point 20 years ago.
The film definitely looks sharp on DVD. Detail is wonderful in close-up, and the explosions use the superb color provided by the disc to shine. Some general background noise and grain hardly hinder the overall presentation, though a few scenes can be jarring.
Audio is a grand disappointment. While the explosions look fine, they lack any "pop" from the LFE channel. They're lifeless, much like the rear speakers. Gunfights are decidedly dull from an audio standpoint. It's an inexcusable 5.1 effort for a larger than life action movie, leaving little to recommend.
Extras are forgettable. Declassified is a typical making of piece, with extensive interviews with Cena and WWE CEO Vince McMahon. The majority is a bunch of talking heads for 11 minutes. A brief look at the premiere event held at Camp Pendleton for the troops is filled with WWE star interviews.
Four features focus on Cena, the first which focuses on his WWE career. They total 16 minutes. Finally, aside from some trailers, ten short promotional features that aired during WWE programming total 14 minutes are strictly promotional.
Don't fall for the "UNRATED" sticker slapped across the box in text bigger than the title. The unrated cut lasts a monumental 23 seconds longer in total. One or two action sequences are extended slightly, though nothing that should have taken the rating above a PG-13.