The Marine

2006, Movie, PG-13, 93 mins

Review

MARINE, THE
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Absurdly over-muscled WWE star John "The Franchise" Cena makes his bid to be the next Schwarzenegger in this lunkheaded but entertaining action flick from former commercial director John Bonito. Honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps after he disobeys a direct order so he can single-handedly save three fellow jarheads held hostage in an Al Qaeda hideout in Iraq (booyah!), Sergeant John Triton (Cena) reluctantly returns home to South Carolina around the same time that criminal mastermind Rome (Robert Patrick) and his gang of merry psychos are emptying the vault of a ritzy diamond merchant. The fallout leaves two cops and one of Rome's own dead at the scene, but it looks like they're going to make a pretty clean getaway — until they pull into the same rural gas station where Triton and his wife, Kate (Nip/Tuck's feisty Kelly Carlson), have stopped to refuel the SUV. When a highway-patrol car pulls into the pump behind Rome's showy black Cadillac, Morgan (Anthony Ray Parker), the craziest of Rome's crazies, panics and opens fire, killing yet another cop. Rome grabs Kate as a hostage and blows up the mini-mart, leaving Triton for dead. Clearly Rome doesn't know who he's messing with in this over-inflated G.I. Joe, but he soon finds out. Triton picks himself up, dusts himself off and follows Rome into a reptile-infested swamp in hopes of getting Kate back unharmed. Until someone comes up with an all-stunts/no-acting vehicle akin to THE TERMINATOR, Cena's acting career is more likely to go the way of Hulk "Hollywood" Hogan's than Schwarzenegger's. But the screenplay by Alan B. McElroy (who also wrote Rob Schmidt's WRONG TURN) and Michelle Gallagher is often quite funny, and for all its reactionary trappings, the film clearly loves its villains more than its hero: Patrick and his gang are a hoot. Particularly good is Anthony Ray Parker as a temperamental psycho with an itchy trigger finger and an understandable loathing of rock candy. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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The Marine
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