Fox // 2009 // 95 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 15th, 2010
A trip to paradise became a mission only a Marine could handle.
WWE Films drops a straight-to-DVD follow-up to its John Cena vehicle, The Marine. Sporting the combat boots this time? Feature film rookie and -- surprise -- wrestling star Ted DiBiase Jr.
DiBiase is Sergeant Joe Linwood, who's soaking up some R&R with his beautiful wife at an island resort, kicking back after a particularly harrowing overseas assignment. His respite is short-lived, however, when a detachment of violent separatists invade the island and take hostages.
With his wife now held with a gun to her head, Linwood decides to sack up and bring the fight to the bad guys, calling upon his American taxpayer-funded skills to get in there and unleash a sackful o' violence.
Is it really that hard to make a Die Hard clone in a hotel resort? Apparently it is, because the folks behind The Marine 2 took a floater over the plate and whiffed. Really, this movie should be able to make itself: you've got a solid physical specimen in DiBiase; a group of sneering bad guys, some of whom know Muay Thai kickboxing; and Michael Rooker! How do you end up farting out 95 minutes of underperforming material that commits the cardinal sin of Action Movie Conventional Wisdom: it's boring?!
Come on guys, just have DiBiase run around beating the living crap out of everyone! Instead, after a promising opening where the terrorists first launch their offensive and Linwood snaps a few necks (fairly easily, of course), the film's momentum locks up. From there it's onto the operative verb that defines the action of the movie: skulking. Linwood skulks a lot. In the daylight, too, which is weird, but I guess it makes sense because there was a 24-hour timetable from the bad guys. At least I didn't have to squint through a movie that takes place in the dark to watch a heap of action sequences stumble around limply.
That's where the bulk of my criticism lands, because let's be honest...there is no other reason for The Marine 2 to exist but to offer a cheap and easy infusion of stuff blowing up and dudes getting punched in the face. Alas, the mayhem largely falls flat. DiBiase is an imposing specimen, but he's got some work to do on his fight choreography. Pretty much all of his onscreen bouts -- specifically a centerpiece with a pair of kickboxers -- feel listless. There is some gunplay, a big foot chase, and some explosions, but the total thrill level hovers somewhere around the bottom of the thermometer.
So the overall experience doesn't impress. Fine. Though allow me to end this review on a few positive notes:
1) Despite his largely forgettable performance here, DiBiase is someone I wouldn't mind seeing again. He's got a quiet, likable charisma and just needs a more exciting project...and some classes on movie action.
2) The Thailand shooting location was lush and should be utilized in more action flicks.
3) Hey, look! The United States Marines are treated with respect as the bad-asses they are. Always nice to see.
The Blu-ray: The 1.85:1 1080p widescreen is a winner; vibrant, packed with thick, full colors, and sporting an impressive clarity. The Thailand setting lends itself well to high-def and, as blah as the movie can be, the cinematography will make even the most cynical eyeballs happy. The ears should be satiated as well, with a loud and active DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track blasting out the sound. Taken on its technical merits at least, The Marine 2 is a success. Extras are headlined by making-of featurettes, including a look at the final fight, the terrorist siege scene, and Ted DiBiase's biography. Also: Deleted and alternate scenes, and outtakes from the Muay Thai fights.
What could have been enjoyable terrorist-killin' romp in the tropics ends up as just another disposable generic action picture.
In the immortal words of Luc Devreaux: "You're discharged,
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Portuguese)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes