“I hate cops… and rock candy.” – Morgan, The Marine (2006).
Some films are just, beyond stupidity. There have been only a handful of films where I have sat and stared on in genuine glee. These films tend to be some of the worst films I’ve ever had to sit through, and The Marine is certainly one of those. John Cena starring as an action hero, sounds good, right? Wrong. So wrong. So very, very wrong. 20th Century Fox and WWE Studios, what a fucking pairing for a mid 2000s action film. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, to answer that question, we look no further than the opening credits. John Cena performs possibly some of the worst action I have ever seen. No, it’s not because it was performed bad, the reason it was so bad was because of how many camera cuts there were. Seriously, about fifty cuts in a matter of a few minutes. Why director John Bonito has done this, I genuinely have no clue. Pretty much every action scene in the film, including fist fights and arguments, are edited in the form of a TV movie style. Hell, that’s a bit too much of a compliment, it looks more like an ironically bad CSI (2000 – 2015) episode.
As an actor, John Cena has obviously improved over the years. He’s had cameos in films such as Daddy’s Home (2015) and even a pretty solid performance in Fred: The Movie (2010) of all things. But regardless of those, he tends not to fare well in full on lead roles. Case in point, he looks out of places and genuinely quite awkward throughout this film. He doesn’t honestly suit the look of a Marine, and it’s a genuine surprise to say that. Alongside this sad fact, he does honestly seem both bored and tired being in this film. In fact, the whole cast does.
I mean, let’s be fair, this film is solely marketed on Cena’s involvement. Personally, I don’t believe this film would have made it past the pitching phase. Cena plays a character named, and I shit you not when I say this, called John Trident. His wife is kidnapped and it’s up to him and only him as a lone vigilante to save the day. There’s a scene where a detective states how impossible and illegal it would be for Trident to go. Then he lets him go. What I’m trying to say is that the screenplay, script and performance throughout is genuinely horrific in every way imaginable.
To say the direction is atrocious is a true understatement. It’s on a similar level to that of David Ayer in pretty much any of his films. Either way, I genuinely do not know what to say about the direction. How do I put into words how genuinely poor it is? Let’s put it into as good a perspective as I can. By the six minute mark, I had guaranteed that this film would be receiving the lowest rating I could possibly manage. To coin the term “this shit needs to be seen to be believed” is an understatement. They play action music when a man walks into a shop. Words simply do not give this film any justice whatsoever.
It’s just so silly and stupid and lacking in pragmatism that it is honestly numbingly strange. There are films that you can watch and get a beautiful feeling from, films like The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) and Alien (1979) will forever stand the test of time as a truly brilliant film. But then there are films such as this and it’s difficult to describe where a film of this level fits in. This film will never be remembered, it will not go down in history. However, for the time being, in modern and recent memory, it will be remembered for being so benigne in its content.
When a film doesn’t work, it often flies through every genre it can think of. There’s a brief sex scene in this film which is preceded by John Cena throwing someone through a window. To say the film is poorly paced is simply an understatement of epic proportions. With sound effects on the same level as fucking, I dunno, Lazytown (2004 – 2014). It’s genuinely comical and I still have no clue whether or not it’s supposed to be a serious film or not. There’s such a small portion of me that genuinely hopes this film is an instant mockery. I couldn’t sleep at night thinking that anyone was proud of this film and their work on it.
For me, the plot doesn’t make sense. It’s in the same wavelength of Sully: Miracle on the Hudson (2016) given the main character is blamed for doing the right thing. Trident is discharged from the military for saving the lives of his troops, but that’s really not the focus of the film. It’s more just a thing they add on to make sure there’s a comedy piece of Trident working as a security guard. The film manages to fly from tone to tone in a matter of seconds. From military shooter, to Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015) and then straight into a cheesy action thriller. Such a wild turn of events that I genuinely didn’t think possible in an hour and a half of film.
Out of every film of all, this is one of the few where I can safely say you could definitely catch fucking epilepsy. You could also lose a few IQ points by sitting through this film like I did. Maybe that’s the caffeine though, not the ridiculously shit films. Either way, The Marine is quite simply just moronic in every way you can think of. From the direction to the screenplay, the acting to the soundtrack, everything is awful. Everything is just. God, I don’t think 1,000 words is enough for this review. Whatever the case, it’s one of those films you need to watch blackout drunk so as to forget about the experience.
For a film to do nothing at all right is a difficult challenge, yet here we are. It is honestly quite funny, but certainly not to the extent of The Room (2003). Sure, the overacting of some cast members is funny, but it wears thin fast. The problem with it is that it could have been funny if the film weren’t intent on keeping itself so serious. The Marine, by all means, is a genuine shit show and I have no idea what to say about it. There’s no way of me ending this review with a cognitive thought. Let me end this review by just stating how the film ends. Trident blows a man up with a truck in a barn of some description and then has some awkward conversation with his wife. Just like every film.