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"The Marine 2" on DVD and Blu-Ray now
While on a temporary leave, Marine recon sniper Joe Linwood (TED DiBIASE) joins his wife Robin (LARA COX), a public relations executive, at the grand opening of a luxurious five-star resort on a secluded island in the South Seas. Unfortunately, their holiday in paradise suddenly comes to an end when a group of local, militant rebels seize control of the resort and take Robin and a group of guests including the billionaire owner hostage. While negotiating a substantial ransom, the guerilla leader begins murdering hostages as the clock ticks away. Joe, working alone and against all odds, is forced to take matters into his own hands to free his wife and the hostages from certain death. (WATCH | PHOTOS)
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment in association with WWE Studios presents The Marine 2. The film stars World Wrestling Entertainment Superstar Ted DiBiase, Temuera Morrison (Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones), Lara Cox (All Saints), Robert Coleby (Monarch Cove) and Michael Rooker (The Bone Collector). Directed by Roel Reine (Pistol Whipped), The Marine 2 was written by Chris Borrelli (Whisper) and John Chapin Morgan, the film was produced by Michael Lake (12 Rounds) and executive produced by Steve Barnett (300), Chris Lowenstein (Bangkok Dangerous), Chris Fenton (Whisper) and Chris Cowles (Duress). Director of photography is Joost Van Starrenberg (Bodega); the production designer, Kuladie "Gai" Suchartanun (Mysterious Island); art director, Pongsak "Yui" Sriwilai (Sniper 3) and SFX Supervisor, Brian Cox (The Matrix). The costume designer is Surasak "Bee" Warahitcharoen (The Detective) and and stunt coordinator is Kawee "Seng" Sirikhaunaerut (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li).
The film, rated R, was released on DVD and Blu-Ray by WWE Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on Dec. 29, 2009.
About the story: The Marine and The Marine 2
The WWE Studios Marine films follow two highly-trained and dedicated Marines who thought they left the battlefield behind only to find themselves using their expert skills and intense military training to rescue a loved one from danger.
"The first Marine film was an all-around success for us," said Steve Barnett, WWE Studios Senior Vice President and the film's executive producer. "It did great box-office, was at the top of the DVD charts and scored very high ratings in its television airings. We wanted to build on the strength of the first Marine and so it made perfect sense to go ahead and develop another one. When we approached Fox, they agreed and we moved quickly forward with The Marine 2."
The first film, The Marine, which stars WWE Superstar John Cena as John Triton, follows a recently discharged Marine on vacation in the mountains with his wife, when she is kidnapped by a group of killers on the run. In The Marine 2, recon sniper Joe Linwood, portrayed by WWE Superstar Ted DiBiase, finds himself having to rescue his wife and a group of hostages from rebel insurgents who seize control of a secluded island resort.
"The story we developed felt like the perfect marriage of material to franchise," said Barnett. "We wanted to stay true to the core idea of the franchise of a Marine using his skills off the battlefield to save a loved one, but we wanted the story to be grounded in true-life events. I think we accomplished that in The Marine 2."
For director Roel Reine, one can take a Marine out of the war zone, but taking the war zone out of the Marine is an entirely different thing.
"Ted and the character he plays work from their instincts," said Reine. "Both Ted and the marine sniper he plays are highly trained and skilled men. I believe as a director you create an environment and the actor will play on instincts. Similarly, once a marine is off the battlefield, he still retains his skills. When the situation presents itself, those instincts take over and that's what this film is about: a professional at work trying to overcome impossible odds."
Inspired by true events
Although set in the fictional island country of Kusang, story elements of The Marine 2 have been inspired by true life events. In 2001, a group of hostages at a secluded island resort in the Philippines were kidnapped by guerillas, who arrived by boat at night to take over a five-star hotel. Similarly, the same week The Marine 2 began production in Phuket, Thailand, in November 2008, a stunning terrorist attack occurred in Mumbai, India, when Pakistani insurgents sailed from Karachi at night and executed attacks on several of the city's most famous and exclusive hotels: The historic Taj Palace and Tower Hotel and the Oberoi Trident. In both instances, the five-star hotels were on the water, the attackers arrived by sea at night, guests were kidnapped or killed, and explosives were planted and detonated at the targeted sites.
For actor Robert Coleby, who portrays Darren Conner, the billionaire owner of the island resort, seeing the attacks unfold in Mumbai made the screenplay all the more powerful.
"I thought the script was great, strong and interesting," said Coleby. "But, I guess the events in the news [this week] have kind of cemented it as a reality."
"To watch the Mumbai attacks on television as we began filming was very eerie," said Barnett. "I had just arrived in Thailand and because of the time difference, I was awake watching CNN just as the news broke about the Mumbai siege. And right outside my window, we were creating the same thing for a film. It was another one of those strange instances of life imitating art and art imitating life."
Style and story
For director Reine, a film's style and story are as intertwined as life and art. Reine sought to "open up" the film, maximizing its cinematic elements without compromising the pacing or the explosiveness of its action.
"So, I came up with a free style of shots to give a theatrical feeling with lots of beauty shots, lots of dollies," said Reine. "In the beginning, it's a paradise and then paradise becomes a war zone, and then I shot it like a war zone. I never emphasized the explosions coming left and right. Instead, I focus on Joe's character and tried to get the camera in the flow with him, running with him, being part of the action."
To help stage the film's key fight sequences, Reine turned to Kawee "Seng" Sirikhanaerut, the film's stunt coordinator and fight choreographer who brought his 24-member stunt team.
Reine told Seng he wanted to take advantage of some of Thailand's local martial arts, especially Muy Thai, the Thai kickboxing style, which provides a compelling contrast to DiBiase's strength and fighting style.
"Ted is a solid, well-built athlete who had this incredible brute force -- he's a huge man -- so to have these smaller Thai guys taking him on with martial arts makes for a very interesting sequence," said Chris Lowenstein, the film's executive producer. "Ted uses his brute force and smashes them into a table and the floor and they use their speed and agility to fight him."
There are more than 25 different moves choreographed for the fight sequence, which lasts more than four minutes on screen. Thanks to DiBiase and the martial artists doing their own stunt work, and Reine running multiple cameras at once, the actors were free to focus on the performance of the scene rather than the mechanics of the fight.
"This movie is extremely intense, very physical," said star Ted DiBiase. "The fighting is hand-to-hand combat, gun-fighting, mixed martial arts, Muy Tai fighting, and there's a lot of drama within the action. We worked hard on these fight scenes to be different and diverse."
"I think a lot of action movies lately do the same thing over and over again with the fighting really cut up. You see somebody punches, and then you cut. You see someone getting hit and then you cut. I hate that style of action," said Reine. "So in working with my action choreographer and stunt coordinator, I told him, ‘I want to see them fight for real.' We shot it in wide shots so we can see them doing it all, taking the punches, without all the cutting."
Reine's style necessitated the actors do much of their own stunt work -- something both DiBiase and his co-star, Temuera Morrison, who portrays the film's villain, Damo, embraced with enthusiasm -- and discipline.
"Ted's work ethic is incredible," said Barnett. "He is tireless in his preparation, whether it is working on the script and his approach to the scenes or his dedication to staying in shape. Somehow, he found time to hit the gym before or after our 15-hour shooting days."
DiBiase also did special operations and weapons training for the role, working with a military instructor who was very impressed by how advanced he was with a sniper rifle. During the first session, DiBiase hit the bulls-eye on a metal target from 500 yards on his first shot, despite windy conditions.
DiBiase, who was born and raised in Mississippi, says he grew up fishing and hunting with his famous father and brothers, which made the sniper role a lot easier. "I am comfortable at handling guns and weapons," he said. "I learned how to hunt and shoot with a rifle and a bow and arrow, so I've been working at it a long time."
Reine told co-star, Morrison, if he accepted the part he was going to have to go one-on-one with a WWE Superstar.
"I said, ‘Listen I want you to know what you will be getting yourself into,'" said Reine. "You are going to have to do everything yourself, you're going to be beaten up and really put through it physically and he said, ‘Oh yes! I want to do it! I'll train and I will be fit for you when I arrive.' And when he arrived, he was in great shape, training everyday, completely into it."
Part of his training involved working with the stunt crew to master the Thai long sticks. "Tem trained with the long stick for only a week and we spent only five minutes with Ted to show him the moves and when we shot the scene, everything went perfectly," said Seng. "Step by step, nothing was missing. It was very impressive."
"Temuera's a very physical person and he really delivered well, especially in the couple of mano-a-mano fights with Ted," said Reine. "He's good with the physical stuff."
Lowenstein summed it up with: "Ted and Tem have created a very interesting synergy as they fight each other. I think the two off-set each other. They have a great interplay between them in scenes."