Monday, August 23, 2010

The Motion Pictured: The Marine 2 (Part 1)

The American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has got it all wrong. They should not go out of their way to nominate movies about bomb squads trying to diffuse deadly bombs in Iraq. They should not blindly applaud films that deal with paraplegic war veterans finding lanky-blue-alien love with sexy female aliens in a foreign world. If a South African government agent becomes an extraterrestrial bug who loves cat food, they should take a moment to think and rethink about their vote. If an old man or George Clooney take to the skies, they should feel free to leave their naked man trophies at home. Surely, they may recognize these films as quality entertainment, but they must refrain from doing so at the expense of one of the best films of our generation.

Years from now, who's going to remember Sandra Bullock raising a misguided, football-playing youth as if he were her own misguided, football-playing son? Who's going to press play on their remote and revisit moments based on the novel Push by Sapphire? Will anyone ever be in the mood to watch Brad Pitt mispronounce words in a flick with a misspelled title? Not I. As long as they keep their distance, I consider myself to be a man of the people. For the most part, I like what you like. Therefore, I can safely say that we do not care for any of these so-called cinematic masterpieces.

Although I am not a movie critic, I know a triumph of modern cinema when I see one. Without a doubt, The Marine 2 starring Ted DiBiase is that triumph. Many critics believe that this movie wasn't good enough for them because it went to straight to DVD and Blu-ray. Well, I believe that The Marine 2 was too good for them. They do not deserve to learn how the sequel ties up the loose ends of the original. What do critics know anyway? They may critique films for a living, but they're not the general public. They have no clue what interests us.

If movies like The Marine 2 are becoming the straight-to-DVD-and-Blu-ray standard, why should I go the theatre? My home can serve as a cineplex. For The Marine 2, I would even be willing to pay admission to see a film that I previously bought in a store in my own residence. Then again, you don't have to take my word for it. Join me in this two-part look at Ted DiBiase's 2009 acting debut and indirectly witness the greatness for yourself.

Rooftop Book Club

In the Southeast Asian streets of Southeast Asia, two children start a water gun fight. The young boy grabs a gun that looks like an actual working pistol. In response, the young girl raises up her colourful Super Soaker. Just as she is about to feel the comforting warmth of a supersonic bullet, weak spurts of water emerge from the boy's gun. Water versus water will always be a wash, but the winner of water versus lead has not yet been determined. Water versus lead is like the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao or Undertaker vs. Sting of children's street games.

On the concrete roof of a multiple storey building, Joe Linwood (Ted DiBiase) talks to his black marine friend about their favourite books. “Hell no,” says Black Marine Friend at the possibility of reading books that are not written by Stephen King. Joe was going to give him Big Apple Takedown for his birthday, but forget that now. He'll have to think of something else to get him, such as a Stephen King look-alike jumping out of a cake in a courtroom setting.

Alhad Me At Goodbye

Upon first sight of a black SUV trailing two pickup trucks, Joe and Black Marine Friend rush to another rooftop with sniper rifles in hand. At Southeast Asian street level, shady-looking men unload a wooden crate from one of the trucks, revealing a machine gun. A man in an oversized leather jacket is displeased. "Why did WWE Studios give me this ill-fitting jacket? Don't they have any money?" he did not say. Skirt-wearing bad man Sanan Alhad comes out of the black SUV to address the unhappy man. "At least you have a jacket. Wardrobe ran out of pants five minutes ago," he may have said.

With Alhad in his sights, Joe rubs his fingers together, implying that he is one of those wealthy rooftop snipers. One day, maybe Joe can buy him some pants. After pulling the trigger, a bullet goes through a random bad guy and Sanan.

A crazy gunfight ensues. Stray shots from a rocket launcher provide the first of many explosions. Joe and Black Marine Friend take down several bad guys, then hide behind cover. Through the rooftop flames, they notice that the young boy who was playing with water guns is lying unconscious. No, he can't die. We must know if lead can defeat water. Since the boy is bleeding, Joe tries to bring revive him with CPR — the surefire way to close a victim’s potentially fatal wounds. A few seconds later, Black Marine Friend tells Joe that they have to leave. He claims that the child is dead anyway. Joe and I believe him for he read it in a Stephen King novel.

The Cleansing

A distraught Joe washes his hands and face in an outdoor sink. To my knowledge, cleaning yourself cannot bring another human being back to life, but perhaps I shouldn't tell him that in this difficult time.

At the U.S. Marine Base, Joe sits down in front of his MacBook and talks to his wife Robin (Lara Cox). Once she finds out that Joe is coming home for a couple of weeks, Robin is ecstatic. "Do you remember me talking about Darren Conner? My super rich client? Owns like a bazillion different businesses — real estate, hotels, and casinos. He is opening a new resort and guess who's in charge of his super-deluxe, invite-only, opening bash?" Tell him already, lady. He doesn't have time to guess. He just let that Southeast Asian kid die.

Joe is reluctant to join her as he was looking forward to returning to Michigan. Being an understanding wife, Robin suggests that he skip the trip and come home, but Joe changes his mind. He says that she is his home. Is your home Michigan or your wife? One is a mighty large and spacious state, while the other is a pleasant looking, petite white woman. You are one confusing marine, Joe Linwood. John Triton was never this indecisive.

Robin tells Joe that she loves him back, despite Joe never saying that he loved her. Joe is indecisive and his wife is hearing things. They are perfect for each other.

Unique Scene Transition

Watch out, Robin. A small charter plane and a scenic island setting are about to crash into your bedroom. Oh wait. We are transitioning from your bedroom to your journey to the resort in an interesting fashion. Good show.

Robin asks Joe, "Isn't it beautiful?" Joe agrees, but does not seem convinced. If I were him, I would say, "You have eyes. Determine the beauty of the scenery for yourself. Besides, your definition of beauty may deviate from mine, depending upon the number of beautiful to not beautiful people, places, and things we have seen in our respective lifetimes." On second thought, I would probably say, "Yeah, sure is."

Looking out the window, they see the resort, which appears to be in the shape of the Transformers' Decepticons logo. Shockwave is not hospitable. Roll out, you two.

The Arrival

Following a wet and bumpy jeep ride, Mr. and Mrs. Linwood meet Cynthia (an employee of the resort) at the entrance. In her half-British accent, she informs them that their goal is to have the most energy-efficient resort in this part of the world. Apparently, this island rests in close proximity to the volcanic corridor. They have constructed their own geothermal plant allowing them to use heat for power. Twenty-four hour armed guards in the security towers provide top-of-the-line surveillance. Lastly, they are having their opening party here tomorrow night. Thank goodness. Imagine if they were having their opening party in Michigan.


Do not playfully throw Robin Linwood into the beautiful resort waters. She has to go to a meeting, yet has a moment to discuss Joe's distant demeanour. On his last mission, Joe tells her that he got a closer look than he usually gets. The sight of a boy fishing in the water has made him think about change.

Robin insists that she is proud of him, whether he is saving the world or sweeping the floor. For me, I see no difference in either activity as I often sweep floors to save the world. Turned on by his wife's low expectations of him, Joe goes in for some CPR love before Darren Conner (Robert Coleby) interrupts. Conner confuses Joe for a soldier. Robin specifies that he is a marine. I am proud of both Conner and Robin in this scene, whether they are trying to figure out who Joe Linwood is or sweeping the floor.

Conner takes her aside, but does a terrible job at doing so as Joe and Conner's lackey can hear their entire conversation. Conner tells her that reporters and Green Peace lawyers are all up in his business. He asks Robin to do her job and handle them, which she gladly agrees to do. Before Robin does her job, I think Conner should do his job and learn how to conduct private conversations.

Robin follows Conner and his lackey, but not before telling her husband that she has a surprise for him. If she brings him reporters and Greenpeace lawyers, I rescind my previous comment about being unconditionally proud of her.

Closed Surprise

Surrounded by caged birds and the restless spirit of the water gun boy, Joe and Robin happily walk through the island village. She puts her hand over his eyes and guides him to a hut with a closed sign hanging over the entrance. The fact that she did not see the closed sign before guiding him to the hut does not bode well for their marriage or future surprises.

Inside the hut, a scruffy, cigar-smoking man reads the paper. He assures the couple that the place is closed. Following the rules, Joe and Robin enter the hut anyway. When Robin pleads with the man to let them take a snorkelling tour, the scruffy man gives in to her demands. So, a snorkelling tour is your big surprise, Robin? If you end up with water in your lungs, Joe won't save you. As seen in a previous scene, he prefers alternative life-saving methods. Although CPR would be appropriate for this hypothetical scenario, Joe doesn't play that game. In the event that you drown, Joe will tie a tourniquet around your leg. Good luck.

The scruffy man walks up to Joe and finds out that he is a marine. Together, Joe and Church (Michael Rooker) laugh about being military guys. Ha, ha, ha. Military-related memories.

Snorkelling Time

On his janky boat, Church sends the couple to a remote part of the island. As the husband and wife undress, Church shoves Joe overboard and laughs. Oh, the hilarity military.

With Church out of the picture, Joe and Robin snorkel while holding hands. How adorable of them to show their love for one another at the expense of demonstrating proper swimming techniques. Venturing to the shore, Robin lays on top of him. The waves rush over them as they begin a remote make-out session. By my count, Robin has pinned Joe for at least a 15 count, but I see no referee in sight. Church was right. This place is remote.


One moment, Joe and Robin are wandering around the caves of the island, trying to find a route back to the resort. The next moment, they have returned to the resort. Somewhere in those caves, ancient islanders must have drawn Google Maps on the walls to show them where to go.

Pool Partay

It's tomorrow night already? I am not even formally dressed yet. For the past several hours, I have been snorkelling, making out with myself, and wandering around caves. My, my, my, Cynthia. Time in this island sure does fly fast. I blame it on that geothermal plant somehow.

At this party, you've got it all: jazzy lounge music, people reading Why Shouldn't You Have It All? by Darren Conner, fruit buffets, girls with wine glasses who are struggling to dance, paper lantern lights, and Darren Conner himself interrupting public displays of affection between the male and female lead. Conner explains to Robin that reporters have been pestering him and his lackeys again. Robin is about to get right on that, but Conner mouths off to her.

Joe stands up for his wife. Unlike Conner, Joe tells him that he does not pick on women half his size. If Joe or Conner want to raise their self-esteem, I recommend picking on females who are three-fourths to three-and-a-half-fourths their size. They are still smaller than you, but not as defenseless.

Robin steps in before Conner and Joe’s confrontation gets out of hand. She informs Conner that opening up to the media will paint him as more than an American outsider with something to hide. After Conner starts to side with her, she adds that he has a speech to give. Joe looks concerned, constipated, angry, sad, confused, or like a man who has recently acquired a lot of money in a storyline.

The Church of Church

On stage, Robin wishes a good evening to friends, colleagues, and investors, then introduces the partygoers to Darren Conner. Since Joe is not a friend, a colleague, an investor, the chairman of Conner Industries, nor the host of the party, he walks away and undresses. Conner welcomes everyone to the Tangalla Beach Resort — where you never have to ask yourself, "Why Shouldn't I Have It All?" I'm sorry, but I ask that question to myself every day. A trip to Decepticons Island will not put an end to my questioning ways. To show my displeasure for Conner's comment, I will undress, too.

Joe wanders over to the shore and stumbles upon a collection of fireworks. Suddenly, Church throws fireworks at him. In response, Joe calls him a "crazy-ass powder monkey." I, for one, am glad that Joe was only talking about crazy-ass power monkeys. If any sane power monkeys heard about his remark, they would be sending letters to this movie right now.

While Church prepares for the fireworks show, he has a heartfelt talk with Joe regarding his recent argument with Robin and Conner. If Church was Joe, Church would return to the party and tell Robin how sorry he was. In Church's opinion, the makeup sex would be worth it. On the other hand, Conner does not deserve an apology or makeup sex. He never frolicked in the water or made out with Joe on the shore. Tough luck.

The Pretty Colour Parade

As Joe is about to return to the party with two cocktails, a huge missile comes in from the shore. At the last second, Joe ducks, letting the missile destroy one of the security towers. In the next scene, Joe better get two more “I’m Sorry” cocktails for that tower. Additional missiles hit the other towers and the general area surrounding the party. Those missiles are destructive, yet considerate. They don't want to kill people. They just want to send a message.

Gun-toting ninjas come up to the shore on boats, bombarding the place with bullets. Joe drops the two cocktails in shock, meaning that he will have get six “I’m Sorry” cocktails for his wife, that security tower, and those two broken glasses.

Partygoers run for cover, except Robin who stands there for a second and stares at Joe from the second-floor pool area. Seconds later, she screams Joe's name, revealing that her reaction time to traumatic events is quite poor. Joe runs up the walkway and starts roughing up ninjas. In the midst of trying to save the resort and his woman, he turns around, letting a ninja hit him in the back of the head with a wine bottle. Why did he turn around if a ninja was waiting for him, wielding a wine bottle? I will answer you th...

Sorry about that. As I was typing, a ninja hit me in the back of the head with a wine bottle. I would tell you the r...

The Half-White-Chocolate, Half-Milk-Chocolate Masked Man

The Half-White-Chocolate, Half-Milk-Chocolate Masked Man (Temuera Morrison as Damo) makes his presence known as the leader of the gun-toting ninjas. He silences a random woman by shoving her into the pool. You know who else likes shoving people into bodies of water? Church does. If that is Church under the mask, I will laugh at first (for I used to be in the military), but then I will be very mad at him. Darren Conner confronts him and asks the masked man his name and purpose for invading the island. The Half-White-Chocolate, Half-Milk-Chocolate Masked Man must have not heard the question because he ends up greeting him. Somebody forgot to drill ear holes in that mask.

Joe recovers from the wine bottle shot and grabs a gun from one of the ninjas. The Half-White-Chocolate, Half-Milk-Chocolate Masked Man reacts by taking Conner hostage. This momentary distraction allows a ninja to come into the picture, knock the gun out of Joe's hand, and wrestle him from the second-floor pool area to the grass below.

Thankfully, Church shows up and takes Joe away from the commotion. Good on him for not being the villain wearing two types of chocolate on his face. From afar, Robin screams, "No" and "Joe," confirming that she knows how to rhyme in peril. You love rapping when you're curious, but what happens when a group of ninjas start threatening your life?

The Church of Latter Day Abandoners

A disoriented Joe Linwood wakes up on a cot. The lack of memory foam mattresses on this island disgusts me. With Church looking over him like a homeless angel, Joe realizes that he has been transferred to a makeshift military base.

He sprints to a television truck — which is surrounded by soldiers and reporters — to watch an important news update. The video shows the Half-White-Chocolate, Half-Milk-Chocolate Masked Man and his ninjas bringing the hostages to their knees. The masked man sends the following message: "For the last century, we have watched helplessly as the disease of the Western world has spread across our islands. Now it is your turn to watch. We will kill all the hostages in 24 hours. If you wish to spare their lives, you must pay tribute." Church defines "tribute" by referring to ransom paid by infidels like himself. I was thinking that they had to form a cover band of gun-toting ninjas, led by a man with a half-white-chocolate, half-milk-chocolate mask. Either way, that's rough.

The hostage takers select a balding man out of the group to serve as an example, but the hostage is unwilling to volunteer. Joe Linwood cannot believe what is happening until the ninjas behead the guy. Joe immediately asks Church to help him save his wife and the other hostages, only for Church to walk away from him. Pushing people overboard and laughing about the good old military days is cool, but when it comes time to do something worthwhile, Church is out? This homeless angel is no good.

The Room of Those Who Are Slightly Inconvenienced

The Half-White-Chocolate, Half-Milk-Chocolate Masked Man and his ninjas move the hostages to the resort’s dining area. Robin pleads with her hostage takers to take it easy on them as they are willing to do whatever they want. Meanwhile, the hostages want Robin to shut her mouth hole.

The leader unmasks and throws Robin to the ground. He is Jango Fett from Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. How could you, Jango? I know Samuel L. Jackson decapitated you in that movie, but you should not have taken your aggression out on that random hostage's head. That random hostage and his head did nothing to you. Next, Jango’s ninjas unmask to reveal sweaty men of diverse ethnic backgrounds. They are no Jango Fett from Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. I'll tell you that much.

Once they leave the room, Robin answers Conner's question concerning their hostage takers’ identities. She calls them, "separatists, fighting the spread of Western influence on their country." Robin is a little too knowledgeable for my liking. It’s as if she is watching the movie while being kidnapped in the movie. Despite Robin knowing too much, the ninjas return and take Conner away from the group instead. Get Robin, you fools. I bet she knows Jango Fett's sexual history. I bet she is beginning to understand that she in a sham marriage with Ted DiBiase. She has meta-knowledge.

Fancy Presentation Tube

At the makeshift military base, a diplomatic advisor strolls in to meet the commander and his soldiers. His fancy cylindrical tube holds blueprints to the resort. Joe Linwood intervenes and wants in on the hostage-saving action. The advisor responds to his request by introducing him to a band of mercenaries, who will serve as reinforcements during the hostage negotiations. The mercenaries want no part of Joe, which is understandable. A man wearing a shirt with perfectly symmetrical sweat stains should not be trusted.

Back at the dining area, Conner assures Jango Fett and his henchmen that they will get their money soon enough. Jango is not pleased, but tells his ninjas that his mystery plan is falling into place. Who are these people? The Nexus? Those guys never had a plan. Step one was putting an N on their shirts. Step two was winging it. Step three was considering the possibility of adding a second letter on their shirts. What a crummy plan.

Ted Stealthiase

Joe Linwood creeps through the jungle to follow the mercenaries as they approach hostage headquarters. At first, they are spooked by his presence. In the shadows, Joe resembles a muscly, boring, jungle ghost with minimal, jungle-ghost charisma. When Joe requests to take the first sniper shot, the mercenary leader hands him the gun.

Joe nails a ninja lookout in the mask with a bullet. He looks back, awaiting the mercenary leader's approval. Another mercenary hands him a handgun before taking back the rifle. Mercenaries do not know how to reward people. You don't give students a B for getting an A. These mercenaries should never give out prizes for anything.


Overhearing the message from a henchmen's walkie-talkie, Cynthia informs Robin that Joe Linwood and His Merry Mercenary Men have been spotted. This statement is followed by a sequence in which Joe and His Merry Mercenary Men gracefully move through the dark waters. You better not mess with Joe Linwood. He has a smaller gun than before.

Near the walkway leading up to the resort, Joe and his allies come across a group of mercenaries who were shot in the back of the head — wine bottle style. Eventually, they realize that they have been set up. Traitors and ninjas attack them from all directions, wounding the mercenary's leg in the process. Following a hail of gunfire and explosions, Joe and his mercenary friend escape imminent danger with the help of a jeep. Since Joe has mastered the jeep, I fully expect the lead mercenary guy to reward him with a smaller jeep.


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