If you are looking for some kind of logical sequel to the WWE film The Marine which starred wrestler John Cena, you will be greatly disappointed. The film doesn’t even feature the same character. There is absolutely nothing about this film that connects it to the original beyond the name. The WWE doesn’t even use one of its bigger names in this film. While I have heard of Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase, Jr., I was not aware that he had a son who has followed his footsteps into the wrestling arena. I would suspect that Ted DiBiase, Jr. is a name only known to the fans who follow the WWE. Of course, that does provide for the major draw for these kinds of films, but I would also suspect that the WWE is hoping for more wide appeal by branching out into these films. So far it doesn’t seem like the sports organization is having any luck. The Marine 2 will not do anything to further the cause.
The film opens with the obligatory mission sequence. This scene does not really join with the actual film plot except to give us a chance to see Joe (DiBiase) in action. We quickly see how good he is. The scene also adds some pathos to the character when a young boy is caught in the crossfire and killed. Now we have a skilled Marine carrying around a bit of guilt over the dead boy. The mission ended, our hero gets a little R&R time. His plans to spend some quiet quality time with his wife, Robin (Cox) are somewhat sidetracked, because she has a mission of her own to conduct. She’s helping a wealthy financier open his latest tropical resort. She’s a PR person who will have her hands full with environmentalists and locals who resent the exploitation of their home. But Joe agrees to accompany her for what he expects will be five days of sun and sand. When they arrive at the resort, the 24 hour armed guards are our first clue that Joe’s going to have to go “Marine” and do some butt kickin’. And, for a while the film settles into Blue Lagoon territory as Joe and Robin have some romantic time in the surf. They also meet up with the local boat tour guide who is also ex-military. He’s a powder monkey, jargon for demolitions expert. You already know that this is no accidental meeting and that ex-Ranger Church (Rooker) is going to play a part in the events to follow.
At the grand opening banquet, terrorists storm the compound and take the party-goers hostage. They are demanding tribute from the local government. The government’s troops leave much to be desired, and when they walk right into a trap, it’s Joe who has to salvage what he can from the situation. From here the film is Die Hard in the jungle. Joe, with reluctant help from Church, has to take on the terrorist forces and rescue the hostages, which include Robin. Like Bruce Willis, he begins to systematically take out the terrorist numbers. It’s all your typical one man army routine from here on. The film attempts to throw some character twists along with some extraneous intrigue, but make no mistake about what this really is. Insert any of the following for clarification: Dolph Lundgren, Steven Seagal, or Chuck Norris. Except those guys know how to act, at least a little.
And that is the film’s major flaw. Ted DiBiase, Jr. just doesn’t know how to act, at least not in a film. I know there’s a ton of theater going on in the ring, but it never does tend to translate to a movie, does it? DiBiase shows none of the emotion or passion behind the rage he has to be going through. He’s a robotic killer just doing a job. You’d never know it was the wife we see him so in love with earlier whose life is really on the line. The supporting cast includes good names with real talent, but they don’t seem to know what the heck to do here. Michael Rooker is the best performer in the mix. He’s always been a very good character actor, and he tries his best here. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get the screen time he should here and can’t save the performance malaise dominating the film around him. Church is a downright great character when we see him. It would have been a better movie if Rooker and DiBiase had exchanged roles. In the end, we just have another forgettable tough guy direct to video film.
Marine 2 is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC/MPEG-4 codec at an average 35 mbps. The bit rate is excellent here, but for some reason it never translates into a solid high definition result. The picture is often extremely soft. Detail appears to be lacking as well. Colors are natural enough, but this doesn’t look any better than I’ve seen on a very good DVD release. Flesh tones carry too much red. The only place that the transfer truly excels is in a couple of the explosion scenes. But even here the detail works against the film, exposing too much of the CG- enhanced flames and debris. It certainly appears that little went into the making of this one.
The DTS-HD Master 5.1 audio brings the concept that loud must equal good. The sub response is some of the best I’ve heard in a direct to video film, but it goes too far and simply dominates an otherwise very weak presentation. Even dialog is not always easy to catch. The score is about as tired and cliché as the rest of the film. Can’t say any of this was at all impressive.
Additional Footage: You have four categories of extra footage here. None of it is terribly exciting. 4 Extended Scenes (9:20), 2 Deleted Scenes (2:43), Deleted Shots Montage (5:47) with director intro, and Fight Outtakes (6:51) also with intros.
Behind The Scenes Featurettes:
Village Virtuoso – The Final Fight: (5:15)
The Last Resort – Inside The Terrorists Siege (3:03)
East Meets West – Muay Thai Fight (4:44)
Production Paradise – Filming In Thailand: (4:15)
Building A Legacy – Ted’s Story: (5:05)
Inside Production: (3:19)
Wrestling fans might, and I say just might, get enough entertainment out of this to make it a worthwhile rental. The rest of you should just skip this one completely. There are better ways to get your action fix. If you just want to spend an hour and a half without having to think too hard and might be looking for some background entertainment, then The Marine 2 is, “OK, I guess”.