Making the Grades
Coming home from combat can be a tough transition. Highly trained and fresh from an Iraqi battle zone, John Triton (John Cena) has been discharged after disobeying orders when he single-handedly rescued three fellow officers from an Al Qaeda terrorist group. Now the war vet is stuck behind a desk working as a security guard in a large office building.
However, his cushy civilian life takes a turn when a gang of trigger-happy jewel thieves kidnaps his wife Kate (Kelly Carlson) during a gas station stop. While the fueling station burns in the background, John pulls an injured state patrolman out of his cruiser and heads after the escaping criminals.
Barreling down the highway, the speeding cars tear through heavy traffic and nearly clip a crew of construction workers before one of the vehicles crashes over the side of cliff. From there, snakes, alligators and the South Carolina marshlands add to the tension as the bandits try to escape on foot. But John, armed with a huge assault knife, tracks the depraved heist leader (Robert Patrick) and his dwindling group of thugs through the southern bayou.
Like the discharged soldier in the film, WWE wrestler John Cena is undergoing a transition from the mat to the big screen. Following the career path of WWE champion Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson who tested his acting skills in films like The Mummy Returns, The Rundown and Gridiron Gang, Cena takes on the role of a super action hero.
Unfortunately the exploits in this filmsometimes feel as staged as a professional wrestling match with slow-motion camera angles, a stirring musical score and the exaggerated indestructibility of the muscular hero who is beaten, kicked, shot at and simultaneously attacked by a whole host of brutes. His foolhardy actions, like running with a knife, are also anything but exemplary.
Individuals and property become as disposable as spent bullet shells to the lawbreakers who make a habit of torching every crime scene they are involved in, leaving a sky-high plume of smoke to alert law officials of their whereabouts. The script also contains brief sexual comments, some foreplay between a married couple and repeated profanities, including a strong expletive.
While this tough-minded Marine locks on his target like a land-launched missile, the movie's excessive violence and the far-fetched abilities of this one-man recovery unit make this film fizzle before it hits the mark.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Marine.
One of the thugs hates the idea of having to drive a minivan for his getaway car. How can a car, clothes or other material possessions affect a person’s self-image?
How does the film justify vigilantism? Who are the “bad guys” in the movie? Is there ever a time when taking the law into your own hands is defensible?
How does greed affect relationships between characters in this film? What does the gang leader’s girlfriend (Abigail Bianca) feel she has to do to keep his attention? How does he value human life in comparison to the diamonds?