Bikers, street thugs, and Marines… *in Michael Cole voice* OHHHHHHH MYYYYY!!!
To say I love The Marine franchise would be a bigger bullshit lie than Michael Cole professing that he “LOOOOOOOVES Final Fantasy” at this past Sunday’s WrestleMania 33. The truth is, these movies are sleep inducing and the complete opposite of exciting, but The Marine 5: Battleground actually isn’t too terrible. It’s certainly not a good movie, but there are aspects to admire.
Directed by James Nunn (not to be confused with James Gunn who actually directs movies worth watching), The Marine 5: Battleground benefits greatly from pulling a number of other WWE superstars from doing nothing on weekly television to pit against The Miz, who isn’t just doing some of the best work of his career in actual WWE, but is growing more charismatic and believable as an action star with every one of these bargain bin shootout romps. The decision for most of his combat scenes to involve fellow wrestlers also allow the battles and fight choreography to have a greater degree of chemistry and brutal impact than they normally would. It’s occasionally like watching a bloody ECW match, provided someone in that federation once swung a fire ax at an opponent (knowing ECW, it probably did happen).
Unfortunately, that’s already pretty much where the positive compliments end, as the battleground of an amusement park parking garage is not the most tantalizing location for a game of cat and mouse between a hardened EMT with PTSD from Marine Corps service and a group of unbelievably dumb bikers that want revenge on the common criminal that murdered their leader in a drive-by. There’s only so many times you can watch characters run up and down the same stairwells and around the same vehicles, firing off guns blindly with little to no precision, before mentally checking out. The final 15 minutes do fare better as the environments are switched up, but by then the movie has long entered the realm of extreme stupidity.
The Marine 5: Battleground is not concerned with logic for a damn second; it’s a movie where a blood transfusion is performed in an elevator despite knowing if the characters involved even have the same blood type. There’s also a moment where The Miz finally acquires some heavy firepower and exclaims with intimidation that “I know how to actually use one of these”, only for him to proceed to miss wildly just as much as the bikers. One important character also has one of the absolute funniest deaths I have seen in quite some time, which isn’t a good thing considering the audience is supposed to feel sympathetic. How could they care when everyone in this movie lacks a brain?
By far the biggest crime The Marine 5: Battleground commits is casting loveable goofball Heath Slater (surely taking the role to put food on the table for his 27 children and expand on that double-wide trailer), giving him nothing to do. Surprisingly, it’s Bo Dallas that gets to chew the scenery as an over-the-top villain, which is a bit odd considering Bo has a voice that consistently cracks and is the least threatening biker ever. Credit the man for trying, though, going completely insane toward the latter moments of the movie.
There is some enjoyment to be had with The Marine 5: Battleground if it’s treated as an action film where The Miz is going on a serial killer rampage mowing down your favorite WWE jobbers (the cast also includes Curtis Axel, who actually at one point in the movie picks up a fire axe and says “the axeman cometh”, current WWE SmackDown Live Women’s Champion Naomi who gets to participate in a rather fun one-on-one fight, and even The Miz’s wife Maryse in a cameo), with the thrills coming from anticipating and guessing who will bite a bullet next. Past that, it’s a more disposable nonsense from WWE Studios. Still, The Miz’s acting career might eventually go somewhere beyond straight to DVD material; he’s coming into his own as an action star.
On a scale from The Great Khali to Finn Balor it’s a Mojo Rawley.
For more reviews check out my archive at Flickering Myth.