The Marine 3: Homefront (2013)

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After John Cena and Ted DiBiase Jr., a stable WWE superstar takes over the franchise in this third and favorable installment of the series that would soon become The Miz’s trademark role.

Granted a vacation, Marine Sgt. Jake Carter is returning home to Bridgeton, Washington. He is given a very warm reception from his best friend Harkin, who has become the small town’s chief of police as well as reuniting with his sisters Lilly and Amanda. Lilly is a bit of a reckless type, going out with local bad boy Darren, whom Jake dislikes. When Jake gets in a fight with a local after a confrontation with Lilly and Darren, Harkin issues Jake a warning as he must uphold the law despite their friendship.

Meanwhile, a crime syndicate led by Jonas Pope has successfully robbed a bank in Seattle and have decided to go to their hideout in the outskirts of town. When Lilly and Darren witness a confrontation between Pope and a smuggler, which results in Pope killing the smuggler, Lilly and Darren attempt to escape. However, they are kidnapped by Pope and his team. Jake soon finds himself having to do the impossible and not only must evade his best friend, but the FBI, who have somehow infiltrated Pope’s group as well. Will Jake be able to rescue his sister in time?

WWE’s now iconic film franchise series all started with John Cena as John Triton in the 2006 original and then Ted DiBiase Jr. in the 2009 sequel. Who would have imagined that four years after that film, there would be another film in the Marine film series? However, it has happened and surprisingly, it is a fun straight-to-DVD action film that brings in turn another WWE superstar who proves that not all action heroes have to have the stereotype look as it is clear that Mike “The Miz” Mizanin has that likable look and yet provide the chops perfect for this genre of action film.

In what is the start to his trademark role in the film universe, Mizanin’s first turn as Jake Carter is both likable and an overprotective big brother as he feels the need to act more like his sisters’ father than a big brother who only wants the best for his two sisters. Things get more complicated for Carter when he learns that his youngest sister is dating a local bad boy and even worse, his other sister is dating his best friend, who is the chief of police. However, this being the Marine, the film is about action and it does deliver, but more on that in a bit.

Playing the main villain in syndicate crime leader Jonas Pope is the very intimidating looking Neal McDonough, whose bright blue eyes could make you freeze in your socks. While he was great to watch as the best friend turned enemy of Dwayne Johnson in the 2004 remnake of Walking Tall, his turn as Bison in 2009’s atrocity that is Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li perhaps gave McDonough a necessity for redemption and he delivers just that with his role here. Fresh of his Marvel turn as Dum Dum Dugan in Captain America: The First Avenger, it is refreshing to see McDonough in a role that allows him to once again become cold and menacing and yet plays it quite slick.

The action scenes are fun to watch. While there are loads of shootouts, the Miz is able to engage in close quarters combat. One notable fight pits Mizanin against the late Darren Shahlavi, who gets a chance to show some of his martial arts skills against the Miz’s brawling style. What must be known with this film is that for this sequence, Mizanin was doubled by Alain Moussi, who would become friends with Shahlavi and the two reunited as the Sloane brothers in Kickboxer: Vengeance.

Fans must have enjoyed Mizanin’s turn as Jake Carter because he would go on to take over the franchise in three more sequels: 2015’s The Marine 4: Moving Target, 2017’s The Marine 5: Battleground, and 2018’s The Marine 6: Close Quarters, all of which will feature other WWE superstars in supporting roles.

As for The Marine 3: Homefront, Mizanin makes for a good action star, working hard to the bone and proving himself enough to become the franchise’s iconic star.

WFG RATING: B+

20th Century Fox presents a WWE Studios production. Director: Scott Wiper. Producer: Michael J. Luisi. Writers: Scott Wiper and Declan O’Brien. Cinematography: Ron Stannett. Editing: Dallas Puett.

Cast: Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, Neal McDonough, Jared Keeso, Ashley Bell, Steve Bacic, Camille Sullivan, Jeff C. Ballerd, Michael Eklund, Darren Shahlavi, Ben Cotton, Sean Tyson, Aleks Pauvonic, Darcy Laurie.

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