Pound Trance: The Marine

Pound Trance: Rob Else’s new feature sees our Marvel whiz review films he has bought for a quid or less.

WWE Superstar John Cena plays a pale imitation of John Rambo in the world’s most generic action movie – The Marine – as he tries to save his wife, taken hostage by a gang of roguish diamond thieves after a completely coincidental meeting.

Seriously, the film spends a good half an hour making sure that you don’t like Cena’s character. In the very first scene he ignores orders from his superiors on a military operation which gets him discharged from the Marines. Then, a little later on, he gets sacked from his job as a security guard on the first day after he throws a guy through a window for no reason. That’s all the character development we get for him. He was in the military and he struggled to adapt to civilian life. That’s it.

More importantly, Robert Patrick looks like he is having a whale of a time. Patrick leads the villains and is also the most entertaining thing about the movie, clearly revelling in being a murderous arse, cracking jokes, and bouncing off of his blundering cohorts. He’s practically glowing next to Cena’s rotten performance. Given how much time you spend with the baddies, and how much fun they are, you could be forgiven for wanting this movie to be a heist flick, rather than the boring and cobbled together revenge film it is.

Everyone in this film is more compelling than Cena. It honestly seems like his character is tacked on, or was hastily re-written after someone more interesting dropped out. Patrick and his gang are fun to spend time with, even Cena’s wife and the rednecks that pop-up near the end for no reason have some good lines and put in good performances.

I can’t defend this film outside of Robert Patrick. I want to, because it’s mostly inoffensive and generic action movie stuff. It could pass as a Seagal movie. However, it has so many flaws, and unlike Seagal films, it never seems to be in on its own joke. It has everything from bad CGI (despite there being no need for any CGI), a petrol explosion set off by gunshots, a really long and boring car chase, rapid fire cuts, slow motion, and even a lame twist with a corrupt cop (which serves absolutely no plot purpose other than stretching the film by a few minutes). It features not one, but two scenes where Cena leaps out of the way of an explosion.

To top everything off, there is also a really creepy scene where one of the villains admits to being a victim of molestation as a youngster. This prompts looks of derision by the others, and does nothing for the character because he is stabbed to death moments later. I paid 50p for this film, which isn’t too bad, but I really wish I had my 85 minutes back. I also immediately watched  James Cameron’s The Terminator afterwards as a palate cleanser.

Some action movies are so bad they’re good. This one is far too bland and generic to squeeze anything resembling ‘good’ out of its soulless husk. Except Robert Patrick, he’s pretty great.

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