John Triton (John Cena) was a U.S. marine, and one mission saw him alone behind enemy lines in Iraq, where he was the only soldier available to save three of his colleagues who had been taken hostage. He was warned to wait for support, but he recognised the situation was not going to allow that, so leapt from his hiding place and began gunning down terrorists then beating up the ones he missed, so that by the time the helicopter arrived to save them he had done their job for them. However, his brave actions soon after resulted in his discharge from the forces, and now he is back home in the States pondering his next move. Someone else doing the same is Rome (Robert Patrick)...
And when they met, it was moider. Or was that Hart to Hart? No, this was one of those WWE efforts where they tried to bring their stars to the big screen in specially tailored vehicles, admittedly there were not a huge amount of these, mostly because the fans of such entertainment were more keen to see their heroes deliver smackdowns in the ring than they were enthusiastic about watching them try to act in throwbacks to eighties action flicks updated to the twenty-first century. Except they were not updated very far, not so much something you'd see Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone starring in, and more a Michael Dudikoff entry into the genre.
And pretty much that's the way The Marine turned out, a second string action effort where Cena could bulldoze his way through the bad guys and emerge victorious by the final act. Oddly, as if the producers were unsure of this test of his talents, it seemed they were more interested in featuring scenes with the chief villain Robert Patrick what with him being a proper actor and everything, leaving him to carry the movie through sheer force of personality. There was even a gag where a henchman observes the Marine himself is like the Terminator which earns us in the audience a glance from Patrick in the rear view mirror; why they didn't go the whole hog and have him wink exaggerately while a slide whistle tooted on the soundtrack I don't know.
Not subtle enough for this movie, perhaps. Anyway, in spite of the title being The Marine, Cena didn't get up to anything especially military once the first five minutes were dispensed with, with even that discharge apparently completely arbitrary to get the character back home and into the scenario after being suspended from his new security guard position for throwing a yuppie asshole through a window. Needing a break, Triton and his wife Kate (Kelly Carlson) head off for the mountains for peace and quiet, but as we have been treated to Rome and his gang robbing an exclusive jeweler's earlier on we can use our powers of prediction to judge that he will be crossing paths with them soon. So it is that they meet at a gas station and the gang panic when a cop pulls up.
Which naturally leaves the station destroyed in a fiery blast and Kate kidnapped, also instigating Cena's habit of diving out the way of explosions which he does a number of times during the rest of the movie. Hey, all the other action stars do it. There then follows a car chase which pushes at the boundaries of credibility somewhat as Triton pursues the evildoers in a stolen police car of remarkable endurance seeing as how it is systematically torn to peices by gunfire and collisions, but manages to keep zooming along regardless. That's not to mention the invincibilty of Cena who manages to avoid every bullet fired at him, which is plenty, but by that point you're well aware you're existing in action movie land where the impossible is everyday and a hero can survive against incredible odds because he has right on his side. Throwing in asides like one henchman (Anthony Ray Parker) offering a wholly unnecessary Deliverance joke and as Triton pursues the criminals across the swamp he meets locals who try to delay him with menace, The Marine was easy to watch nonsense. Music by Don Davis.