Wednesday, August 12, 2015
John and Kate decide to take a trip, but are waylaid at the gas station by psycho diamond thief Rome (a hammy Robert Patrick, the recipient of a TERMINATOR gag) and his gang, who kill some cops, blow the place up, and jet outta there with Kate as a hostage. Triton, who takes a ridiculous amount of physical punishment without showing more than slight scratches, jumps into the souped-up police cruiser, which looks like something out of BLADE RUNNER, and chases them. The laughs grow to a fever pitch when Triton loses control, flips the car into the air and upside down, and leaps out of it as it plunges over a cliff and into the water below. The punchline is that the bad guys continue shooting at the car, even though it's flying over their head, over a cliff, and on fire. How many times did they think they could kill that fucking car?
Triton, completely unscathed except for a half-inch red mark under his eye (you gotta see this crash to believe it), pursues the baddies into the "swamp." The rest of THE MARINE pretty much plays out exactly as you guess it will. The lame twist reveals that Rome's secret partner is the only other character in the film and the only person it could be. The whole story boils down to a fistfight between bodybuilder Cena and 50-year-old Patrick, so you can imagine how that plays out.
THE MARINE is simple and fast-paced. It’s kinda the poster child for Dumb B-Movie. It has some fun action sequences, terrible CGI, a couple of gorgeous women, and welcome humor (the often intense Patrick is pretty hilarious). The characters try to convey their treacherous conditions while traipsing through the “jungle,” but the landscape looks like a dead forest, and the "critters" like a snake and alligators are never seen in the same shot as the actors, kinda like a Jungle Jim programmer. The credits reveal that Australia substituted for "South Carolina," probably to save money, but the fakery doesn't work.
One benefit to filming in Australia was that debuting director John Bonito (his next movie was CARJACKED five years later) got David Eggby, MAD MAX's cinematographer, to shoot it, so it doesn't look too bad. Making Cena seem more human would have been an enormous improvement. He takes the brunt of several massive explosions, blows to the head, crashes...he even hangs onto the side of a semi-truck as it smashes through buildings. We're used to superheroics in our action movies, but even Indiana Jones felt pain. John Triton really is, as one character says, The Terminator.