Remember when John Cena wasn’t cracking jokes as an actor; when he was the joke? We were just reminded of that lovely period.
For those of you who don’t know, back before he redeamed himself with hilarious turns in both “Trainwreck” and “Sisters,” John Cena’s filmography was mostly cliched action movies or other unforgettable messes. “The Marine” is still very much a part of that legacy, and although it was his first acredited big-screen role, that doesn’t save it from our ridicule.
“The Marine” (2006) is at its core a generic action romp starring a brawny action guy who goes it alone to kick some ass. However, there are some unique choices made in the execution of this film that at best add almost nothing, at worst induce some of the more cringe-worthy moments of mid-2000s action flicks.
The plot is as follows: John Triton (Cena) is a former Marine who was dishonorably discharged for disobeying a direct order, and is on vacation with his wife. They stop at a gas station to refuel, unknowingly stopping at the pump directly across a bunch of bank-robbers who are on their way to trade their freshly robbed diamonds for cold hard cash. The bad guys get spooked, and then proceed to BLOW UP the entire gas station (because why not?) and kidnap Triton’s wife so they can hold her as hostage in case the police catch up to them. Triton, of course, pursues them. That’s the movie in a nutshell.
Some of the most utterly pathetic attempts at humor in recent memory reside in this movie.
Most of the utterly dreadful comedic moments revolve around a particular henchman with a wild triggerfinger. And aside from the widely unsuccessful attempts at racial humor this character makes, there is one recurring joke he makes which in particular stands out. He doesn’t give all of the details, but it apparently involves a camp conselor who calls himself Johnny Whiplash who offered him rockcandy, friendship, and something he shouldn’t have accepted. Yep, that’s right, a rape joke. Utterly out of the blue, left to hang in the air like a fart in the room. And much like a fart, it doesn’t quickly dissipate and it leaves all feeling repulsed.
John Cena kills him, and the jokes, much to our relief.
Additionally, Robert Patrick plays the villain in this bro romp. As any sci-fi lover knows, Patrick’s claim to fame is the naughty cyborg in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day.” At about the halfway point, a terminator reference so tacky and on-the-nose was made, causing us to eye roll with the fury of 1,000 suns.
Honestly, other than the terrible comedy, the movie doesn’t really suck that bad. It’s not good by any means either, just mediocre. Cena delievers what few lines he has as well as he can, and then spends the rest of the film basically running through the woods and getting kiddnapped by some deranged rednecks. And of course he rescuses his wife, because that’s the thing thats supposed to happen in these types of movies, films so utterly devoid of tension and reality that there are virtually no stakes.
Oh, and this movie might have the most laughably gigantic explosions ever seen on screen. But hey, it’s action, right?
And there you have it. “The Marine,” starring JOHN CENA!!! (queue the entrance music). This movie deserves, lets say, 2 cages?