In The Marine, John Cena plays a marine recently let go from military service who now must save his wife from a group of thieves. The sequel has Ted DiBiase Jr. playing a different marine who is on vacation at a resort that gets overrun by terrorists. He must go all John McClane on the bad guys. The third movie follows another different marine, this time played by The Miz, who is back in his hometown and must stop a group of bad guys who are holding his sister hostage. Three movies with three different actors playing three different marines who must fight three different groups of bad guys. So what should we expect of a fourth installment? More of the same? Yes and no.
The Marine 4: Moving Target shows the return of a wrestler and his marine character for the first time in the franchise’s decade long life. Mike “The Miz” Mizanin returns as Jake Carter, the character he played in The Marine 3: Homefront. Jake is starting out his new job as a personal security agent. The person he is protecting on his first day is Olivia Tanis (Melissa Roxburgh), a whistle blower who has damaging information about a military organization. The people with skeletons in their closet send a group of mercenaries after her in an attempt to kill her and keep her quiet. Carter will stop at nothing to keep her safe.
This is the first time that a lead actor in the Marine franchise has returned to the series for another installment. There is a big reason for that and it is the performance of the actor. The first film in the series starred John Cena. He cannot act. He might be fine in the WWE, but in a movie, he has no talent on the acting front. The man is a pile of muscle that can’t show believable emotion in any way whatsoever. The second film featured Ted DiBiase Jr. in the main role. The guy had more acting ability than John Cena but he was still missing something. They finally got that thing right with the casting of The Miz for the third Marine film.
Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin is not the best actor. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Yet he has something that the other two stars of the franchise never had. The Miz has a screen presence. In terms of movies, The Miz is able to fill his character and be memorable in a way that the other two actors never were. He isn’t going to be filling theaters because he is starring in a movie. Far from it. He just has enough to make himself more memorable than his predecessors. With more movies under his belt and more experience outside of wrestling, he could become a good action star for this generation.
As for the action in the movie, The Marine 4: Moving Target suffers from a problem that a lot of lower end movies seem to have. It is set in the woods, which can take away from the effectiveness of the visuals. The main problem that comes from setting a movie in the woods is that no matter where the characters are, the look is almost identical. There may be small differences, but it is essentially just trees all around them. There is no real sense of location. The characters could be anywhere in the woods at any given time. It is difficult to tell how far into the woods they have travelled. Booby traps can be fun in the woods, though when they all involve trees and woods, it suffers once again from the similar visuals problem.
That said, this movie has a real Die Hard vibe which has been present throughout each of the Marine films to varying degrees. They involve one or two people, the marine being one of them, picking off bad guys. One at a time, the bad guys get killed or incapacitated. This is an easy way to root for the good guy in the story. He or she overcomes the unthinkably bad odds to take down the entire team. It shows intelligence and stealth. It shows ingenuity and skill. This method of storytelling makes the protagonist more exciting because they need to have slightly more depth to them in order to pull it off. The Marine 4: Moving Target does well with this story by having Jake Carter using his marine background to stay one step ahead of the mercenary team that is after his client. It is believable and shows off the action chops that The Miz has as the character. The strategic intelligence that the character has comes from his background and gives the character a depth he wouldn’t have had otherwise.
The Marine 4: Moving Target could have used a few more quiet moments for the characters to be more reflective upon themselves and their actions. There was a basic blueprint of that. However, no time was taken to delve into the characters’ emotions during the action. This could have allowed a better connection between the audience and the movie, rather than having it be mindless. The movie was entertaining for what it was. It lacked the depth to make it any more than that.
If you wanted to watch a movie in the Marine franchise, there is a worse installment to go to than The Marine 4: Moving Target. This movie may not have the depth of The Marine 3: Homefront, or the pure action joy of The Marine 2, but it is still a serviceable action movie that will entertain for the hour and a half that it is on. It is a good continuation of the third installment, though it could be much better. It was still fun enough and that’s all that matters.
Now it’s time for some quick notes before the post is over:
- Yes, I’m going to link to my post for the first three Marine films.
- Mike “The Miz” Mizanin was the star of The Marine 4: Moving Target. He was also the star of The Marine 3: Homefront.
- Roark Critchlow appeared in The Marine 4: Moving Target. He also appeared in View from the Top.
- The Marine 4: Moving Target featured David Lewis. He was also in Ghost Storm.
- Have you seen The Marine 4: Moving Target? Have you seen any of the movies starring Mike Mizanin? What did you think of them? Use the comments below to discuss this stuff.
- The comments are also a good place to suggest future movies for the Sunday “Bad” Movies. You could also try my Twitter feed if you have a movie to suggest.
- Next week’s movie is going to be Chasing Liberty. I haven’t seen it before. I might have seen First Daughter once. But I think I actually saw that one where Amanda Bynes finds out she’s British royalty. I’m getting way off of Chasing Liberty though. It’s a Mandy Moore movie from the early millennium. I’ll check it out and get back to you next week.