WWE star John Cena plays a gung-ho Iraq War veteran forced to hunt down a thuggish gang of diamond thieves who have kidnapped his wife while on the run. Spiriting her off to the South Carolina wilderness is their first big mistake... big, bad John is on home turf staging a search-and-destroy mission in a hostile environment. Robert Patrick is the swaggering chief villain in an undemanding retro-action thriller that does what it says on the tin.
Anthony Ray Parker
For every Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, there are scores of WWE beefcakes whose fledgling film careers have received the smacketh down on their collective candy asses.
John Cena joins Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kane, whose straight-to-video fodder earn the average catering bill on The Rock's film sets.
But, as pizza-on-the-lap-and-beers-in-both-hands entertainment goes The Marine takes no prisoners and leaves no-one short changed in the buck/bang department.
In a Team America style Iraq-based prologue Cena disobeys orders and rescues a squad of clean-cut Marines from machete wielding zealots.
Its glue-sniffing IQ established, the film relocates to the States (Australia and Canada standing in for South Carolina), where Cena (the Warrior Princess?) is finding life on civvie street ain't for him.
Luckily, Robert Patrick's gang of varmint jewel thieves make off with his good lady wife (Nip/Tuck's Carlson) meaning our mean, green fighting machine can wage morally acceptable war, the good/bad divide as complex as on a typical episode of WWE Raw.
Cena, in a role originally written for Stone Cold, has a permanent "chimp shown a card trick" expression of bewildered annoyance, but tackles the rough stuff with physical gusto.
TV ad director Bonito keeps the action pumping and preposterous, the violence WWE cartoonish despite the script taking its cue from First Blood and Commando.
What Bonito likes is explosions: preferably big, blossoming and every shade of orange. Indeed, The Marine gives the impression Bonito would love to visit the fiery surface of the Sun, and recreating it on Earth is the next best thing.
Patrick plays his villainous role for maximum panto appeal, gamely taking Terminator references on the chin, while his motley crew are mainly on hand for Cena to chew through, but make the most of occasional inspired flashes of witty banter.