When I first heard about The Marine 2, I had a few questions. (1) Why make a second Marine movie? (2) Why make a Marine movie without WWE Superstar John Cena? (3) If you aren’t including WWE Superstar John Cena, why call it a sequel to The Marine? (4) Why do I get the feeling I’ll eventually end up watching it? These are the questions that I had, and I’ll give you the answers I’ve come up with.
(1) The first Marine, which was released theatrically, made a lot of money. Not with the theatrical release, which almost didn’t make back the $20 million budget, but in home media. It ended up making more in DVD, Blu-ray and in rentals than it made back at the box office. Since it was a financial success from WWE Studios, and those who have followed the WWE know that Vince McMahon likes money, there is a second one, this time it’s been released just on home video, and with what feels like an even lower budget.
(2) I’m thinking that there are multiple reasons for this. First, John Cena had just done 12 Rounds, and filming keeps him away from television for a while. Since he was the WWE’s biggest star at the time, that isn’t good for business or television ratings. They didn’t want him to take another vacation to film a sequel. Secondly, Ted DiBiase, Jr., the son of Ted DiBiase or, as you might know him, “The Million Dollar Man,” stars in this film, which makes me wonder how much pull his old man has with Mr. McMahon.
(3) Again, I think there are two reasons for this. First, name recognition is a good thing. Sometimes, films having absolutely nothing to do with one another are marketed as sequels (sometimes even illegally), just to draw in fans of the original. WWE could easily market this film as a brainless action film with one of its up-and-coming young wrestlers taking the lead role, but calling it “The Marine 2″ will probably be better for business. With films like this, it’s all about the money.
(4) I’ve been told that I’m somewhat masochistic in terms of my film choices, but I think in this case it’s more of a morbid curiosity. Can Ted Jr. act? Will it be better than the mediocre Marine? Will I have any fun watching a brainless action movie starring some WWE Superstar that I don’t like in the first place. (If I remember, DiBiase was a heel at the time of release.) (If you don’t know what a “heel” is, in pro wrestling, it means he’s the bad guy.)
DiBiase plays Joe Linwood, a marine who, in the film’s opening scene, shoots some guy, with the scene ending with a child dying. Said child alerted the bad guys to Joe and his partner’s location, so I don’t know why we’re supposed to mourn over his death. Whatever. Somehow, it affects him enough to mope around for a couple of scenes. It also is supposed to show us that he’s quite a good marine, and that he’ll be able to handle whatever is thrown at him. All it showed me was that he had a really cool gun.
Joe has a wife named Robin (Lara Cox), who invites him to spend a few days at a deluxe hotel that’s just opening. They spend the first day together, they snorkel, and enjoy the opening speeches from her boss, and then get surprised when a rocket destroys the guard tower during the firework ceremony. Then, a bunch of terrorists with masks ambush the guests, killing all but twenty, or so they think. Joe and a couple of others escape, but since he’s a marine, he decides to head back despite both the local military and a bunch of mercenaries attempting to rescue the hostages.
What comes of this are a bunch of explosions, gunfights, and pretty much everything you’d expect out of a low-budget WWE film. Is it much fun? Not really, largely because it doesn’t do anything but be a middle-of-the-road popcorn film that has nothing to differentiate it from all of the other films of this nature. It’s loud and action-packed but that’s all it is. And since that isn’t particularly well-done, there’s little to hold your attention.
I think that DiBiase, Jr, didn’t do a terrible job, but he’s nothing more than a large-muscled guy who gets to go through the motions of an action movie. He gets few words (I wonder if anyone trusted him with many lines of dialogue in the first place) but at least has the right type of body and training to do action scenes. Wrestling is, after all, a bunch of well-choreographed fight scenes. Or, sorry, “real” fighting.
In the end, all The Marine 2 is going to do will leave you wondering why you spent your 90+ minutes watching it. Sure, it’s got some explosions and gunfights, but being a low budget action film, a lot of cheating occurs and this type of thing has been done way better elsewhere. If you really want to watch this, you better be a fan of Ted DiBiase, Jr., because him going through a bunch of action scenes will be enjoyable for you, and largely you alone. It’s not a poorly made film, but it’s not much of a fun one to watch. And yes, for the record, I did miss John Cena. No, I’m not sure why that is.