Bullet Points: The Marine 5: Battleground
Mike Mizanin, or The Miz as he is better known, has been pushing people’s buttons since he appeared on MTV’s The Real World. The Miz persona has always been one that is easy to hate. The past year of WWE programming is proof that The Miz’s antagonistic skills have gotten better with each passing year. When it comes to being a heel, The Miz is an A-Lister.
So it is odd that a man so well versed in villainy and so naturally unlikeable has played the hero in WWE Films’ longest running movie franchise on three separate occasions. The Miz followed in the footsteps of John Cena and Ted DiBiase Jr. when he made his feature film debut in 2013’s The Marine 3: Homefront. The Miz would return in The Marine 4: Moving Target in 2015 and now with the release of The Marine 5: Battleground, one could argue that The Marine series belongs to Mike Mizanin.
- The Set Up: Former Marine Jake Carter (Mike “The Miz” Mizanin) is now working as an EMT. One night Jake and his partner Zoe (Anna Van Hooft of Warcraft fame) respond to a call. The only information they have is that a man called 911, said he was in the parking garage of an amusement park and that he had suffered a heart attack. In actuality the man who called had just been shot after he and his friend gunned down the leader of The Lost Legion motorcycle club and now the two were being hunted by some very pissed off bikers. Jake and Zoe arrive on the scene and find that one of the men involved in the shooting was already dead and the other, a man named Cole (Nathan Mitchell) was badly injured. Before Jake and Zoe can get Cole back to the ambulance and off to a hospital, three members of The Lost Legion show up Alonzo (Taylor Rotunda), Murphy (Trinity Fatu) and Deacon (Joe Hennig). Alonzo doesn’t just want to get his revenge on the man who shot down his beloved leader, he wants to know why he did it and he’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish these goals. I should mention that Alonzo doesn’t care if a couple of emergency medical technicians get killed in the process.
- The Action: The primary battleground in The Marine 5: Battleground is the amusement park’s underground parking garage. With only one way out, our hero Jake Carter finds himself backed into a literal and proverbial corner. Jake’s military training is put to the test as he does his best to protect his partner and the wounded Cole from the revenge thirsty bikers. There is some classic back and forth with both sides getting the advantage at various times as the tension continues to build. Things swing firmly in the favor of the forces of evil once Zoe is captured and Alonzo uses her to negotiate a trade with Jake Carter. Jake gets his partner back, Alonzo gets the man who killed Rodrigo. If you are thinking this transaction does not go smoothly, you would be correct and it really is just the beginning of the steady stream of action and violence that would follow. The movie’s battleground would eventually expand into the amusement park itself (including a fun scene in the haunted house) and beyond.
- The Villains: With Rodrigo dead, there is some head butting between Alonzo (who WWE fans will recognize as Bo Dallas) and Vincent (Sandy Robson) who has assumed control of The Lost Legion The conflict between the two alpha males becomes an interesting subplot for the movie and even provides a twist towards the end. I was surprised at how major a role the Alonzo character was, especially for a first time actor like Taylor Rotunda. Rotunda did really well for a rookie in the action movie world, my only complaint with his character was the tear drop tattoos on his face… but fake ink aside, he proved to be a formidable foe for Miz’s Jake Carter.
In the introduction of this review I mentioned how the argument can be made that The Marine franchise belongs to Mike Mizanin. After watching The Marine 5: Battleground, I can say there is no argument. Mizanin owns the franchise and Mizanin has become an action hero. He looks the part, he can more than live up to the physical demands of an action hero and despite the obnoxious personality he displays on a weekly basis on worldwide TV, he convinced me that Jake Carter was a good man, who didn’t do the easy, he did the right thing. That speaks volumes for how far Mizanin has come as an actor since he started on this crazy Hollywood ride.
I have to credit director James Nunn for the pacing of the movie and knowing just when to throw in a scene with major impact. Nunn also deserves credit for getting the most out of a cast that was comprised of a lot of inexperienced actors, most notably the performance he got out of Taylor Rotunda. Nunn and WWE Studios proved to be a winning tag team last year with the fantastic Eliminators and The Marine 5: Battleground only has me hoping for more collaborations between James Nunn and the WWE in the future.
To the loyal readers who were hoping for some Bonus Bullet Points, you will not leave this review unhappy…
- Out With A Bang: Movie villains serve a purpose, that purpose is to be fodder for the movie hero. Going into an action movie you know bad guys are going to die, but if you can remember those deaths you have done something right. The death of Cash (Heath Miller aka Heath Slater) is a memorable one for sure.
- Til Death Do Us Part: Despite being prominently featured on the cover art, The Miz’s wife, Maryse Mizanin has what could be described as a glorified cameo in the movie. She plays an automobile accident victim that EMT Jake Carter rescues prior to getting that fateful call to go to the amusement park.
- Record Breaker: The Marine 5: Battleground boasts the most WWE Superstars to ever appear in a WWE Studios movie. The Miz, Maryse, Naomi, Heath Slater, Curtis Axel and Heath Slater are all represented. That’s not just a cast of characters… that’s a mini-battle royal!
- If You Ever: …wanted to see The Miz battle a guy in an elevator shaft, then this is the movie for you!