“So you’re a Marine? That supposed to put my mind at ease”?
Brilliant. Coming from the world of the WWE, where guys routinely get dropped on their heads, battered with sledgehammers, and still find a way to prevail against ten other guys, perhaps the simplistic mentality of The Marine 4: Moving Target should be understood. And hey, this comes from a guy who loves pro wrestling more than just about anything in the world, but what I don’t love is how The Marine franchise assumes we’re all just a bunch of blathering idiots. The latest entry in the mind-numbing action series brings back ex-Real Worlder and WWE superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin for a film that finds new ways to make gunfights boring.
Miz has plenty of charisma in the ring but it doesn’t transfer as a movie star. It didn’t last time and it doesn’t here. He returns as Jake Carter, an ex-Marine settling into a new job working for a private security firm. His first day on the job sees him and the rest of the team guarding Olivia Tanis (Melissa Roxburgh), a whistleblower set to blow the lid off dirty dealings within a top defense contractor. Of course they can’t have that, so a team of black-suited mercs (including WWE diva Summer Rae, atrocious here) to track her down, wiping out the entire guard detail. Except for Carter, of course! To get the job done he’ll have to deal with inept cops, Olivia’s snarky hipster attitude, and a whole army of trained assassins with limited skills stringing a whole sentence together. That goes double for Summer Rae.
Besides the cringe-worthy dialogue such as “Call my bluff, bitch. Meanwhile, I’m gonna have breakfast.”, The Marine 4 has some of the most generic gun battles in the history of cinema. That’s pretty much all the movie is, actually. Miz runs from one place to another, stops, has a shootout. And along the way he’s shooting behind him the whole time. You’ll be sick and tired of watching the bullets fly after about twenty minutes, and you’ve still got another hour left to go. William Kaufman’s monotonous direction makes a ninety-minute film feel like three hours. The Miz does what he can but he’s not good enough to overcome a lousy script and a poor direction, but I truly feel sorry for the fans who buy (dear God no!) or rent (still a bad idea!) this hoping to see Summer Rae kick some ass. She’s certainly been all over the marketing designed to appeal to us braindead wrestling fans, but the truth is that she’s a very minor character with practically no dialogue. If she vanished from the film it wouldn’t make a lick of difference.
WWE Studios has made some genuine strides over the years. They’ve developed a few good films and have made a splash in Hollywood. But as the movies around it get better, The Marine somehow manages to get worse. It may be time to retire this soldier once and for all.