Stars: Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin, Neal McDonough, Ashley Bell, Jared Keeso, Jeffrey Ballard, Ben Cotton, Steve Bacic, Sean Tyson, Darcy Laurie, Nicola Anderson | Written by Scott Wiper, Declan O’Brien | Directed by Scott Wiper
WWE Studios return to one of their most popular franchises with The Marine 3: Homefront, which this time features WWE superstar, and former The Real World participant, Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin who plays the titular marine, Sgt. Jake Carter, who returns home on two weeks leave just in time for his sister to be abducted by a band of violent extremists. Opting to launch a one-man assault on their base of operations, Carter discovers that their plans are far darker than just straightforward abduction and soon he is racing to stop a deadly terrorist attack. With no time to pause, Carter steps into the breach to save the lives of thousands of innocent people…
The WWE has been home to a number of action movie stars over the years: Hulk Hogan, The Rock and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to name a few. More recently the wrestling stable has made the move into filmmaking themselves, at first co-producing some of The Rock’s early flicks, before forming WWE Studios and producing their own movies, starting with the original The Marine (although the Kane starring See No Evil was eventually released first). Starring John Cena and Kelly Carlson, The Marine did well enough on in US cinemas and on DVD (the film is the highest grossing WWE film produced to date) to warrant a sequel, which followed in 2009. Starring Ted DiBiase Jr., son of the wrestler The Million Dollar Man, The Marine 2 did not fair as well, even for a straight to DVD release, so a third film in the series comes as somewhat of a surprise. What’s even more surprising is that the WWE handed the starring role to mid-carder The Miz after originally announced lead Randy Orton was dropped from the film due to his past with the USMC.
By the time you get to the third film, especially in a franchise as unconnected as this, you should know what to expect. Fights, guns, explosions and a ad-ass hero. And we get that. Sort of. I will say one thing for The Miz, he can certainly sell a fist fight – much moreso than Ted DiBiase Jr. did in the previous film and his “bad boy” in-ring persona translates well to the screen, giving his marine a bit more of an edge. Although, in all fairness, the fight scenes are few and far between (relying more on gunfights than fist fights) – the film spends more time with the villains, led by the always watchable Neal McDonough, as they plan their machinations. As for the ending, sadly the tension needed in a film like this was lacking and at no time, despite the cliched use of “outrun the bomb timer”, did I think The Miz, or any of the characters he cared about, were in the slightest bit of danger. Which left a lot of the final third of The Marine 3 feeling a bit of a damp squib.
Damp squib is maybe a little harsh. Maybe I expected more – especially given the names involved in the film. Directed by Scott Wiper, who returns to the directors chair for his second WWE Studios film (the first being the fantastic Stone Cold starrer, The Condemned). Wiper also penned the film with Declan O’Brien, who genre fans may know as the writer/director of the last three Wrong Turn movies. Then there’s Neal McDonough. Already familiar with working opposite wrestlers, having worked with The Rock on the first Walking Tall movie, McDonough is known for playing strong-willed villains – and what does The Marine 3 have him do? Spout a lot of rhetoric before essentially “giving up” on his master plan when cornered by the cops! If there’s ever a definition of an actor having the metaphorical wind taken out of his sails thanks to a middling script, then this is it.
No a bad movie by any means but just not a great example of the genre, The Marine 3: Homefront is released on Blu-ray and DVD on April 15th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.