The only real drawbacks with benchmark films the likes of Die Hard is that twenty years later you still have to suffer the shameless, pale imitations. Such is the case with this latest outing from silly action factory WWE Studios that trades an LA tower block for a beach resort in the Philippines and snarling Eurocrats for non-specific separatists but otherwise owes John McTiernan's revered classic not so much a wink and a nod as dinner and a show.
Originally set to star the high-profile grappler Randy Orten, who was replaced by the lesser known Ted DiBiase Jr. (son of WWE legend The Million Dollar Man) following a dislocated shoulder, this generic exercise in crypto-fascist escapism is a sequel in name only to the decidedly average 2006 original. DiBiase stars as the hulking special forces marine Joe Linewood (who is not in the army! Got that? The marines have nothing to do with the army, as we're reminded over and over!) enjoying some much needed downtime with his wife (Lara Cox) at the brand new geothermic powered beach resort she is managing until a small army of separatists storm the place and take hostages, aiming to fleece the industrial billionaire owner for some quick green. Linewood, as fate would have it, is their only hope.
Dutch helmer-for-hire Roel Reine oversees the nonsense, trading in logic for simplicity with a threadbare story that even at ninety minutes feels stretched beyond belief. In fact the first third of the movie could easily pass for a promotional video on behalf of the Philippine Tourism Authority. Half an hour in we've established that Joe and his wife are very much in love, that her boss is a dick, and taken a long walk on the beach and then a boat ride seemingly so we can discover a secret cave leading into the resort (the largest, most obvious secret cave you've ever seen) that might be important later. There is even a grizzled ex-marine (Michael Rooker) who used to dabble in explosives and now runs a scuba-tour on the beachfront. He might be important later, too.
If you're the kind of genre-lover able to forgive a director asking you to buy the idea that arms dealers conduct sales in the middle of crowded residential neighborhoods in broad daylight, or that a highly trained band of mercenaries would mistake firecrackers for gunfire, then you might just still be awake once the dots start to be joined. Cue lots of frantic running about shooting at balconies, endless blowing up of palm trees, and lots and lots of slow-motion diving for cover.
While he might just have succeeded in rendering the most boring action movie of all time to celluloid, it's not entirely Reine's fault. clearly so much of the budget went on the location what was left over for pyrotechnics is just slightly less impressive than the fireworks they shoot off each week to kick-off Smackdown. DiBiase has the brooding thing down cold, but the self-inflated script doesn't even afford him the odd quip lest a hint of fun might creep into proceedings and ruined their social commentary (these guys aren't terrorists, they are something much worse – anti-capitalists!). As the damsel in distress Lara Cox shows she can wail and kicks and scream with the best of them. Sadly Temuera Morrison's bad guy (who sounds like a Kiwi) and his crap sidekick (who sounds like he is from Pasadena) are so bland they don't even deserve their villain's mulligan. Of course, this is a WWE movie, so having finally disarmed and cornered Linewood do the bad guys shoot him in the head? Of course not. They wrestle. Seriously.
Blu-ray Extra Features
Extra features consist of a handful of behind the scenes featurettes, not one of which exceeds five minutes. Village Virtuoso looks at the climactic showdown on a floating harbor dock, while Last Resort takes us inside the hotel resort that served as the principle location. East Meets West details the Muay Thai fight scene, while Building a Legacy chronicles DiBiase's background and entry into the WWE. Also included are a smattering of throwaway deleted scenes that can be viewed individually or, if you so desire, in montage!
The Marine 2
Starring: Ted DiBiase Jr., Lara Cox, Michael Rooker, Temuera Morrison
Director: Roel Reine
Runtime: 95 Minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
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