By Chaz Lipp
In each film in the on-going, B-movie series The Marine, a different real-life WWE superstar is cast as a Marine and placed in some kind of perilous situation. In the first, which received a wide theatrical release, it was John Cena. The Marine 2, the first direct-to-video release, starred Ted DiBiase, Jr.
Now we wave The Marine 3: Homefront, starring Mike “The Miz” Mizanin. He works fine in the role, scoring points by underacting, and his fans should enjoy seeing him kicking ass once the action kicks in. This isn’t a big-budget release. It was shot over the course of 20 days, with little time for rehearsal, in Vancouver, B.C. You should know going in that this isn’t a Die Hard or Mission Impossible type of extravaganza. I want to say up front, there’s a solid line up of cool featurettes that are geared heavily toward fans of The Miz.
Consider all that sort of a disclaimer, since The Marine 3 is the kind of movie even the filmmakers know isn’t an attempt at high art. For those still interested, Mizanin plays Sergeant Jake Carter, a Marine heading home for a leave after 14 months of deployment. He has a very tight, protective bond with his sisters, Amanda (Camille Sullivan) and Lilly (Ashley Bell). Spoiling his R&R in a big way is Jonas Pope (Neal McDonough), who has blown into town with a gang of henchmen to enact a plan intended to bring down rich “fat cats” who benefit off the backs of the average U.S. citizen. Jonas aims to use domestic terrorism as a way to bring about forced wealth redistribution.
After Lilly and her boyfriend Darren (Jeffrey Ballard) witness Jonas and company committing a murder, they’re kidnapped. Naturally this leads to Jake springing into action to rescue his sister and, more reluctantly (since he’s kind of a punk), Darren. No big surprises in store, just a lot of chases and shootouts aboard a dilapidated ferry boat. I’m not even going to diss the movie, even though it’s no great shakes. It is what it is. If you love The Miz, you’re going to want to see it. If you’ve enjoyed the other Marine films, you’ll want to check this out. And Neal McDonough, a veteran actor with a long list of credits (he was Dum Dum Dugan in Captain America: The First Avenger), brings charm and menace to his portrayal of Jonas Pope.
Technical specs are rock solid, with a digital shoot that transferred well to Blu-ray. The stock footage in the pre-credits sequence are obvious due to dirt and grain, but the once we get into the film itself there are no problems. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is lacking in sheer power, without enough oomph in the LFE channel. But it’s completely serviceable.
Five short feaurettes total about 40 minutes and thankfully all of them are worth watching. “Shipwrecked: Breaking Down the Boat” examines the decommissioned, rotting ferry that serves as the set for The Marine 3’s climax. I loved learning about this scrap heap that was repurposed for the film, especially the dog that really does live on the boat and wound up in all preproduction photos. “The Miz Rocks the Boat” is basically an extension of the first piece, with Mizanin exploring the innards of the ship. “The Miz Declassified” focuses on the star’s enthusiasm and preparation for the project. “Casting Call” is all about a WWE fan who was selected to appear in the film as an extra and had the time of his life. “Miz Journal” is what it sounds like, more with Mizanin about his experiences on the shoot.