[box cover]

The Marine

One of the more amiably racist movies of recent vintage, The Marine (2006) features an unhinged African-American baddie named Morgan (Anthony Ray Parker) who generally acts the fool to a disastrous degree, yet pins the blame for his self-inflicted hardships on the white man. This turns into a comedic bit when his white co-conspirators, led by Rome (a mugging Robert Patrick), call him on his unwarranted complaining, which would be funny if, 20 minutes prior, Morgan hadn't, oh, bugged his eyes out at the sight of Cadillac and stolen it. This may sound like quibbling, but it's the difference between laughing at a character for being unreasonable as opposed to laughing at him for being a stereotype, and one gets the queasy feeling that the latter is what's intended. That Alan B. McElroy, a co-writer on the film with Michell Gallagher, happens to be African-American doesn't excuse this in the least, though it would be interesting to learn whence Morgan's regrettable Rochester routine derived. Aside from his background in WWE events, The Marine's director, John Bonito, doesn't have much of a filmography, though he at least captures the picture's plentiful shootouts and bust-ups with a proficiency that should earn him another shot at a forgettable Fox actioner. If one can look past the film's abject race-baiting, it's still a wretched little flick, but one that might elicit a few hoots if watched in the company of friends over a lot of beers (though even two hours of C-SPAN can potentially fill that bill, especially if those enthrallingly awful reenactments of the Lincoln-Douglas debates are on). The star of The Marine is John Cena, reigning World Wrestling Entertainment champion and possessor of zero charisma, thus rendering him somewhat believable as John Triton, a jarhead who gets discharged from the service after going renegade to rescue his fellow soldiers from an al Qaeda stronghold in Iraq. Though he's really into killin', this works out fairly well for Triton, seeing as how he's got a lifesize Barbie doll for a wife, Kate (Kelly Carlson), waiting for him back home. This is where the prurient-minded male viewer might expect the "unrated" DVD to offer up what Carlson kept under wraps on "Nip/Tuck," but no such luck. The film swiftly charges into its plot, which consists of Triton chasing the thieves who kidnap Kate — for unspecified leverage purposes — after shooting up a gas station in rural South Carolina. Triton, who was headed for a weekend in the mountains with the wifey, remains in ruthless pursuit right up to the end credits, meaning that the film knows well enough to not overstay its welcome. While the fight scenes are competently choreographed, they're nothing special; essentially, this one's for Cena fans and everyone else with low expectations. Oh, and the Klan. Fox presents The Marine in a good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with solid Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include "The Making of The Marine" (11 min.), four brief Cena-centric featurettes, B-roll from the film's world premiere at Camp Pendleton, and some EPK shorts from the WWE. Keep-case.
—Clarence Beaks

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