Fifty six-year old pro wrestler Shawn Michaels pairs with his WWE co-worker The Miz to tear down a mob family plot in this sixth (!) Marine effort. What started with the more visible John Cena, The Marine 6 shrinks further to direct-to-video stars, linked to pro wrestling in an ever increasing way, and anchoring itself in hyper-pro military propaganda.
Miz and Michaels share the screen as ex-military men, building a story where American training and brotherhood conquer all. The duo have such strength, they take on dozens of gangsters inside an abandoned brewery, taking bullets and stab wounds while seemingly unfazed. Michaels endures rebar through his shoulder, then takes on three men in a hand-to-hand fight without so much as flinching.
Decorated with American flags, production design is built for a jingoistic affair. Marine 6 feels like a shrewd recruitment film, with Miz roping and choking one villain, and with each step, spouting military marketing. Every effort is made to make the heroes cool. They never succumb to pressure and use all manner of martial arts to KO their adversaries. Conversations devolve into traded quips or war stories, elevating their toughness under duress. The military makes people capable of slaughter – the cool kind though.
Marine 6 feels like a shrewd recruitment film
Marine 6 feels like a shrewd recruitment film
Marine 6’s irony is that it concerns justice. A mobster is on trial. One of the jurors’ daughters is kidnapped and held to ensure a mistrial. An abuse of the system, and then marines rush into the situation, guns loaded. There’s further irony in the villain’s death (played by another wrestler Becky Lynch) with her determination of keeping the jury hung.
On the surface, Marine 6 plays fine. The action proves capable for DTV and the Michaels/Miz combo exhibits great chemistry. Becky Lynch gives her own mean streak, matching her current in-ring persona, albeit with more violence. Editing keeps a thin narrative moving, and the overly bloody escapism only runs for 75-minutes.
Then the credits roll, and Marine 6 sends itself off with a hilarious tribute video. It tries to serve as both a monument to those lost and one of the series’ stars. At best, it’s disingenuous to treat a pro wrestler playing a marine with as much reverence as a real marine. In execution, the pre-credits, super dramatic reel is outright hokey. Yet, it fits Marine 6’s ludicrous exhibition of militarism and the men who serve. WWE financed this production, but the US military probably cut a check too; the nonsensical military propaganda that fills Marine 6 suits their marketing.
Digital cinematography remains clean for much of The Marine 6. Ignore some minor noise clots and banding in the final shots; the rest of Sony’s presentation wins out.
Oddly though, this is a strangely flat looking effort. Intent likely plays its role. Since most of the runtime takes place inside of a crumbling factory, it’s meant to appear dusty. That’s not the actual case. Instead, black levels die, never making an appearance, giving Marine 6 a washed out look. Color plays into that as well, dry and weakened.
Sharpness succeeds at least. Generally rich, the texture evident in each sequence makes sure facial definition stands out. CG elements of the brewery likewise keep detail high, making exterior shots (including stock footage) look great.
Weakened dynamic range keeps action scenes down. Gunfire lacks punch, high in treble with lacking low-end support. Even large scale moments (note scale is relative to a DTV movie) lack dynamism. The squeeze is disappointing for a movie flush with action.
Small surround use matches the budgetary constraints. Debris falls into the stereos as gunfire passes by. Dialog cues keep characters trapped by pushing spoken lines to the rears. Down a grain chute, echoes bounce between speakers. Nice, but minor.
Making Maddy one of two EPK features, this one generalized for five minutes, covering the production as a whole. The second focuses on fight choreography – the better of the two featurettes – running four minutes.
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The Marine 6: Close Quarters
Marine 6: Close Quarters runs the gamut of generic DTV action, with a fun pairing of wrestlers Shawn Michaels, Miz, and Becky Lynch.
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