DVD Release Date: Tuesday, December 29, 2009
In 2006, WWE Superstar John Cena starred in “The Marine,” which failed to make much of a dent theatrically, grossing less than $20 million during its 15 weeks in cinemas. However, it eclipsed that total on video, grossing $30 million in just 12 weeks. That gave WWE studios an idea!
Apparently, someone at WWE Studios got the bright idea to make a sequel to “The Marine,” but make it for the straight-to-video market, which is actually a perfectly reasonable response to the performance of the first film. There’s certainly nothing wrong with knowing your weight class and sticking to it.
Unfortunately, that’s about where the good ideas for “The Marine 2” ran out. The first film is not great, but it’s at least watchable and holds some camp value thanks to Cena’s charisma and an obviously-slumming-it-but-still-entertaining Robert Patrick. “Marine 2” is a sequel in name only, as it literally has no connection to the first film at all, and Cena has been replaced as leading man by Ted DiBiase (Jr.).
DiBiase stars as Joe Linwood, a current marine that goes through a traumatic experience and is given a little time off. His wife Robin (Lara Cox) is very excited because now he can accompany her to her latest work function, which is opening an island hotel resort with her insufferable boss Darren Conner (Robert Coleby, who played a different character in the first “Marine”).
The high-class party is attack by a group of local rebels, who are angry at Western culture spreading their influence all over their island. The rebels, led by Damo (Temuera Morrison) take hostages, including Robin of course, because what WWE Studios film would be complete without the main character’s wife or girlfriend being kidnapped? Local military is too inept to handle the onslaught, and a group of mercenaries hired similarly fail to get the job done. That leaves it all up to Joe, with a late assist from local weirdo Church (Michael Rooker), who happens to be a former military man himself, with experience in explosives. Darren also does what he can to help as a hostage, because the first 15 minutes of the movie that set him up as a huge douchebag don’t matter once he’s been kidnapped.
“The Marine 2” has plenty of action staged by veteran director Roel Reiné, most of it acceptable but not engaging or exciting in any way. Normally this would be fine for a straight-to-DVD offering, but this film has two enormous flaws that just kill it dead. First of all is the casting of DiBiase, son of one of the most charismatic wrestlers of all-time, “The Million Dollar Man.” DiBiase is a solid wrestler but never took off as a character because he lacked charisma and star power. He was at his best the third fiddle in the Legacy group behind Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes. The second huge flaw is that the bad guy rebels actually have a pretty good reason to be angry, as the expensive resort being built on their island is taking over their space. Now maybe I wouldn’t take hostages and all that, but I can certainly sympathize with their issue.
“The Marine 2” represents a series of miscalculations and an overall poor effort from a studio people already have low expectations for.