There’s been a void in wrestling ever since The Rock left to become a movie star and an even bigger void in the action genre since The Rock stopped making action movies and started making kiddie crap like The Game Plan. While I never liked John Cena on WWE and found his yo boy persona rather irritating, he makes a pretty decent film debut here. It’s no Commando but it’s way better than anything Steven Seagal’s done lately.
Cena stars as (what else?) a Marine who gets a dishonorable discharge for disobeying orders when he heroically saved three soldiers in combat. He returns home to his hot wife (Kelly Carlson) and tries to fit back into society by getting a job as a security guard. That only lasts a day as he’s promptly fired after throwing a dude through a plate glass window. Meanwhile there’s a group of crazed diamond thieves led by the always great Robert (Terminator 2) Patrick who blow up a gas station and kidnap Cena’s wife. That makes the Marine all kinds of mad and he spends the next fifty minutes bodyslamming the heck of the sleazy bad guys.
The action is plentiful as something gets blowed up real good about every ten minutes or so. There’s also a great car chase in which Cena’s ride gets shot into the consistency of Swiss cheese, gets turned into a makeshift convertible when it collides with a crane and then flies off a cliff.
Cena is no Rock, but he’s OK in the lead role and proves he has more charisma than most professional wrestlers-turned-actors (yes, Hulk Hogan, I’m talking to you). Unfortunately the filmmakers do him the great disservice of not providing him with any funny one-liners or catchphrases. But the movie really belongs to Patrick. He chews more scenery per minute in this flick than most villains do in an entire movie, and he’s clearly having a lot of fun with the role. His colorful crew gets a lot of great dialogue too and one villain even gets to relate a thoughtful summer camp story of when he hooked up with a (male) counselor!!!
Maybe his crew is a bit too colorful for their own good. Their increasingly bizarre and reckless behavior (Patrick shoots his own man for no reason whatsoever) draws a lot of unnecessary attention and they probably could’ve made a clean getaway if Patrick wasn’t so busy blowing up cop cars with a bazooka just for the heck of it.
Predictably, Patrick gets all the movie’s best lines like, “I have severe intimacy issues!” but the film’s best moment is when one of his underlings refers to Cena as “the Terminator”, and Patrick coyly raises an eyebrow to the audience.
Nobody will be asking for a Marine 2, but the action is pretty much non-stop and you can do a heck of a lot worse.