Superstar Cinema – The Miz in The Marine 3, 4 & 5

At no point in this am I going to attempt to convince you that The Marine 3, 4 or 5 are groundbreaking pieces of action cinema or that they transcend genre entirely.  I won’t begin to tell you that they feature world class acting or incredibly well crafted storylines.  After all, these are sequels to that first John Cena feature that we all secretly love but don’t really talk about (did you know that John Cena was an uncredited gym rat in Ready to Rumble?).  What I will tell you is that they are simply enjoyable films that allow you to numb your mind to the insanity of the real world and dive into The Miz’s portrayal of Jake Carter (and yes, I realize that’s the most generic name imaginable).  I’ll probably spoil the hell out of all three, so you read further knowing full well it is coming, but were you really worried about that anyway?

The Marine 3: Homefront

Writer-Director Scott Wiper (of The Condemned fame?) takes The Miz on his first journey as Jake Carter, a Marine on leave who just happens to be home around the time a deranged local militia kidnaps his sister and her boyfriend who witness them murdering an arms dealer in a field.  See that image I used, can you feel how cheesy the vast majority of this film is just from looking at that image?  I knew you could, that’s why I picked it.  The film co-stars Ashley Bell (of moderate notoriety, she’s got a decently lengthy filmography on IMDB and Neal McDonough.  While McDonough isn’t Eric Roberts (co-star of The Condemned 2 starring Randy Orton and greatest actor on the face of the f***ing planet), you know who he is because he’s seriously in almost everything you’ve ever seen, including The Rock’s remake of Walking Tall.  He’s a damn fine actor who manages to fly somewhat under the radar, and even managed to carry a subpar season of Arrow on The CW as Damien Darhk.  See, you recognize him.

There are two sequels to The Marine 3, so I don’t guess it is a spoiler to tell you that Jake overcomes some subpar choreography and mediocre action sequences to defeat McDonough and his militia before they can murder his sister and destroy the town, or a G20 Summit or whatever the hell it was they were going to attack.  I don’t remember, it wasn’t necessarily important.  I’m going to give The Marine 3 a 2.5 out of 5.  It’s not a good movie, it’s not a bad movie, it’s just the movie, if you’re specifically saying that the movie is The Marine 3: Homefront.

The Marine 4: Moving Target

Scott Wiper abandons the series after the third film, but writer Alan B. McElroy and director William Kaufman seem to have more faith in his Jake Carter character than he did anyway, as this film is a good bit more ambitious than the third installment.  For The Marine 4: Moving Target, we’ve also brought in Summer Rae, who some of you might remember as a former WWE Diva (and fairly talented wrestler who just seemed to disappear with no explanation), who plays a mercenary that gets maybe four words of dialogue.  It may also be noteworthy that she isn’t given an opportunity to speak until she’s removed the mercenary jacket that she sports through the first 3/4 of the film and is down to her “now I’m in bad ass mode” tank top.

The Marine 4 sees Jake Carter survive an onslaught of mercenaries with the aim of a Stormtrooper battalion as he aims to protect a whistleblower with state secrets about a military arms corporation and get her to the attorney general to tell her tale.  I have no problems telling you that the supporting cast here is not quite as good as Marine 3, as it features no one on the Neal McDonough level (I couldn’t place anyone from the cast list other than Miz and Summer in anything else, so they’re probably Grey’s Anatomy regulars), but The Miz was much better in his second effort than the first.  The action seemed to have better direction and it was all around a much more ambitious try than the first, and I applaud the effort.  The Marine 4: Moving Target gets a 3 out of 5

The Marine 5: Battleground

Welcome to the most must see WWE movie of 2017, welcome to The Marine 5: Battleground.  Ok, so the second half of that didn’t work quite as well as the first.  Let’s lead off with the poster/cast of this film, which you may notice stars the current Intercontinental and Smackdown Women’s Champions, as well as The Miztourage and former Smackdown Tag Team Champion Heath Slater.  There’s a lot of WWE talent on the poster, I’ll go ahead and tell you that Maryse is in the first three minutes of the film and that is it.  Noami dies by the 10 minute mark.

The Marine 5: Battleground sees Scott Wiper return to the writer’s room, but directing is left to James Nunn (not to be at all confused with James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy) who’s directing credits are mostly as second unit director on a number of films you’ve probably never heard of and a shark attack film starring TV and Pop Music’s Mandy Moore.  The Battleground of the title is an abandoned amusement park in story that still inexplicably has full power and the majority of the neon lights are still on throughout the film.  Yes, I’m the type that hates this sort of inconsistency in production.

Jake Carter (Miz) is now stateside working as an EMT, when he is called to a distress call for a dead body and a shot man in the parking deck below the amusement park.  The shot man is the target of a biker gang, the Lost Legion, who are hunting him because he carried out a hit on Rodrigo, former gang president.  It’s a pretty weak story, but the worse decision was that a biker gang of tatted up white guys (once Naomi is dead) is hunting the only other black character in the film around an amusement park.  Hell at one point Bo Dallas even tries to burn him alive.  It was just a questionable decision, that’s all I’m saying.

Clearly Wiper needs to stay away from any future efforts in this franchise, as his involvement seems to have made The Miz’s performance worse, although that could be that the film was seemingly completed in like three weeks as he didn’t seem to miss any time on WWE TV during filming.  Might have been helpful if he’d trained with actual Marines or in any sort of military combat training at all, as he runs around with a gun like your embarrassing Dad looks playing a combat game through the Oculus Rift he never should have bought to begin with, so essentially like this:

I gotta cut some points off on this one, in spite of a pretty solid performance from Bo Dallas (and only Bo Dallas).  We’re going to give this one a 2.5 out of 5.  

Final Thoughts:

The fourth Marine film was easily the best of the three installments featuring The Miz.  All three of The Miz Marine movies are better than that horrible piece of garbage that was The Marine 2 (which got no subtitle) starring Ted Dibiase Jr., as that was essentially The Crystal Skull of this franchise.  None of the sequels have been as good as the original Marine, even admitting that The Marine wasn’t necessarily a good movie, but it did offer us John Cena, Robert Patrick, Kelly Carlson and Manu Bennett in a film that seemed like a WWE Films effort to put John Cena in a Jean Claude Van Damme movie from the early 90s, and who didn’t love those movies?  While he’s not going to win Academy Awards any time soon, I do feel like The Miz is definitely better than what he is working with in this franchise, and would love to see him get the opportunity to at least try in something more demanding.  And if nothing else, I’m the one that burned through four and a half hours of his life watching these three movies, and you got through it in the ten minutes it took to read this page.

Tune in next time for Superstar Cinema as I force myself to sit through all three of the 12 Rounds movies.  And as always, like and follow us on the socials, subscribe to the podcast and join me tonight as I do my usual live recap of Smackdown Live!.  Until next time….