THE MARINE 3: HOMEFRONT
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Mike “The Miz” Mizanin as SGT. JAKE CARTER
Neal McDonough as JONAH POPE
Ashley Bell as LILY CARTER
Michael Eklund as ECKERT
Jared Keeso as HARKIN
Jeffrey Ballard as DARREN
Ben Cotton as JACKSON
Studio: 20th Century Fox and WWE Films
Directed by: Scott Wiper
BY KEVIN CARR
In the grand scheme of evaluating the entertainment value in films, it’s almost impossible to compare a movie like “The Marine 3: Homefront” to a lot of other flicks. You can’t compare it to an award-winning film like “Argo” or “Lincoln” any more than you can compare it to the latest Pixar movie. It’s even hard to compare “The Marine 3: Homefront” to “The Marine,” since that first film in the franchise has a theatrical release behind it, along with loads of studio cash.
Rather, one has to look at “The Marine 3” as a throwaway bit of escapism. The bottom line is whether it entertains as a direct-to-video action film should. It’s not about what the movie has to say about politics (even though there is a bit of a relevant political message crammed in there). Instead, it’s more about whether the action delivers, whether the fight scenes are exciting and whether the movie does a good job blowing shit up.
The answer to those three questions is that “The Marine 3” does each one of those things well enough to make it worth a look.
The story follows Sgt. Jake Carter (WWE’s The Miz) after he returns home from duty to spend some time with his sisters. His youngest sister Lily (Ashley Bell of “The Last Exorcism” fame) is thrilled to see him home but still butts heads with him over how she’s living her life. Lily goes off to spend some time with her boyfriend, but they stumble onto a murder near an abandoned riverboat. The men who commit the murder then capture Lily and her boyfriend to keep them from revealing their position before they can plan a terrorist attack. Jake takes it upon himself to circumvent local law enforcement to use his special skills to infiltrate the terrorist stronghold and save his sister.
“The Marine 3: Homefront” is directed by Scott Wiper, who started in low-budget acting and had a brief shot at theatrical features with Steve Austin in “The Condemned.” After “The Condemned” was condemned by audiences, Wiper returned to lower-budget films, so he seems at home with “The Marine 3.”
Rather than throwing together a run-of-the-mill actioner, Wiper takes time to stage some strong action sequences, including hand-to-hand combat as well as some nice scene with bullets flying and explosions literally rocking the boat. Working on a smaller scale than even “The Marine” with John Cena, “The Marine 3: Homefront” feels a little more intimate, and knowing the more limited resources makes these action sequences impressive.
Like any action flick – big budget or not – “The Marine 3” isn’t sold on its acting. The Miz actually has a decent level of on-screen charm, and he makes a better leading man than the original film’s John Cena (which may have more to do with the face that The Miz has a human-looking neck while Cena looks likes a head on a pot roast). Neal McDonough chews through the scenery as he does in almost any movie he gets. There’s a certain cheesy fun to him in the role of the villain, which is better delivered than his other antagonist roles. (See “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” for some of the worst villain acting in the man’s career.)
In the end, “The Marine 3: Homefront” will do in a pinch, if you’re looking for an entertaining actioner to fill a few hours on the weekend. It’s not going to win any awards, but it’s also not a bad little film.
The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack comes with a handful of special features, mostly in featurette form. There’s a look at the location in “Shipwrecked: Breaking Down the Boat,” a look at The Miz as an action star in “The Miz Rocks the Boat” and “The Miz Declassified,” a spot on the casting of an extra from WWE fans in “Casting Call: Ready to Enlist” and finally a look at the day-to-day life on set with “The Miz Journal.”