Movie Review: One good 'Marine' could win this battle

By Hallie Woodward
The Commercial Appeal

This weekend's box office will be Monday's talk. Robin Williams, in Man of the Year, Sarah Michelle Geller and Jennifer Beals in Grudge 2, and Sigourney Weaver and Toby Jones in Infamous, may just hear themselves repeating a couple of lines from 20th Century Fox's new release, The Marine. They may all find themselves asking, "What happened?"

The response will be, "A Marine showed up. That's what."

WWE wrestling superstar John Cena is making his Hollywood debut in The Marine. While he's following other WWE fighters, such as The Rock, Cena is definitely going to be a contender on this weekend's big screen. He's good-looking. His blue eyes are ice cold, yet so hot. He's got an awesome physique. Plus, he does a good job in his leading role. Matched with blonde bombshell Kelly Carlson, Cena makes the screen explode with moments of a man in love, a man at war, and a man that just won't quit.

John Triton is a Marine who has just returned home from Iraq. His wife, Kate, talks him into a road trip. Driving into a stop-and-go station, John pulls his black SUV up to the pumps. He steps inside to grab a couple of colas when he hears gunfire. Dashing outside, he sees a police officer down, and his wife being taken as a hostage. He might be stateside, but he's faced with his world, not his life, being on the line. He'll stop at nothing to carry out his toughest mission - getting his wife back. He may be ex-green, but he still knows how to play mean.

Robert Patrick is magnificent as the cold-blooded gang leader known as Rome. His fight scenes with Cena are impressive. On the press site, Patrick admits to actually hitting Cena with a pipe wrench a couple of times. He quickly states that Cena really can take "a licking." Patrick is truly scary as the white-collar crime lord.

Anthony Ray Parker is great as the ruthless hit man, whether it's with his gun or his fists. In his fight with Cena, he's allowed to pick up anything on the set to power his punch. So, be prepared for plenty of ka-pows, whacks and whams. Plus, unlike many famous horror films, this week's battle with a chain saw is realistic.

Car chases, houses exploding, and gunfights are all shot with beautiful clarity and embellished with slow motion. When director John Bonito shoots a scene of Patrick's 45mm shells leaving the gun, catapulting in a slow, winding circle in the air, and then falling gradually back to the ground, he quickly has the brass, round base become a mag wheel under a police cruiser that is screeching off the pavement in pursuit of a low-flying black Cadillac.

Taking Bonito's talent and adding special effects technician Jim Leng (known for his work on Stealth, House of Wax, and The Matrix) to stunt coordinator Chris Anderson's group of stunt men and women makes every scene powerful. Whether it's a car flying off a cliff or an explosive blast shattering glass at a gas station, these guys make it into art.

The script is crisp and fresh. When Rome says, "Would somebody please shoot this guy? Morgan quickly responds with "What does it look like we're doin'?" You can't help but laugh when Rome grimaces, "Missing!" Later, Rome claims, "I tried to kill this guy twice today . he just won't die."

Premiered at Camp Pendleton, base commander Colonel James Seaton stated that this movie boosted our troops' morale.

With The Guardian sinking all of its competition, The Marine will probably knock out all of its competition. Men will love the action and women will love a man going through fire for his adored wife.

I'm giving it a B+ for being the best of this weekend's offerings and for being "bad." I can't wait to go with my guy this weekend. While his eyes will be glued to the cars, Kelly Carlson and the action, my eyes will be on John Cena.

Hallie Woodward of Olive Branch is a student at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus. Her movie grading system: A=Awesome, excellent; B=Better than average; C=Considerably average; D=Desperately staring at exit; F=Flunked, hoping for fire alarm to go off.


The Marine

Distributor: 20th Century Fox and WWE Films

Writer: Michelle Gallagher (story and screenplay), Alan B. McElroy (screenplay)

Director: John Bonito

Cast: John Cena, Robert Patrick, Kelly Carlson, Anthony Ray Parker, Abigail Bianca, Jerome Ehlers, Manu Bennett, Drew Powel

Genre: Action/Drama/Suspense Thriller

Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action, sensuality and language

Runtime: 93 minutes

Grade: B+

Copyright (c) 2006 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.


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