Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Marine 5: Battlegrounds & The Interrogation

A couple years ago I enjoyed myself so much with a two-for-one review special of the latest DVDs from WWE Studios that I decided it was the proper time to bring that feature back. Today I am covering last year’s Interrogation (trailer). It is a crime thriller featuring Edge in the lead role as a FBI interrogator where he is involved in a cat and mouse game with a suspect dangling multiple bomb threats in front of him. Marine 5: Battlegrounds (trailer) hit earlier this year and features an ensemble cast of WWE stars with the Miz once again reprising his lead role as an ex-Marine trying to live a normal life, but finds himself mixed up in a gang war at a amusement park.

WWE has been pumping out what seems like several movies a year now. WWE is all in on the direct-to-video movie train because it appears they are content with their low budget films making a small enough profit due to filming them in Vancouver where they get considerable tax breaks. I use to rent their films from Netflix just to see what they would unleash upon movie fans next, but WWE put the kibosh on Netflix rentals from their last several films, so now I am forced to purchase their movies and thus they enter my backlog which means you all get to suffer/experience them with me in the form of my review.

Marine 5 captures the same raw, gritty feel of most WWE Studios’ action films that serve as a prime selection for Movies for Guys Who Like Movies night on TBS. The Miz is once again Jake Carter, after failing his last job as a personal security detail in Marine 4, Carter takes up the role of an innocent, everyday EMT. Things go horribly awry his first day on the job however when him and his partner Zoe (Anna Van Hooft) get mixed up in a gang war with biker gang, The Lost Legion. Miz must protect Lost Legion target Cole (Nathan Mitchell) from gangsters comprising of WWE stars Naomi, Heath Slater, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas.

A bulk of Marine 5 is Jake, Zoe and Cole trying to stay one step ahead of the biker gang in a parking garage. After playing hide and seek from the gang in the garage for awhile, the final act takes place in a big final showdown at an amusement park. Once I got over the hoki-ness of the bulk of the WWE stars involved, I was surprised to find myself legit getting into Battlegrounds. I got into Carter and friends combining their wits to fend off the Lost Legion and the final act amps up in a big chase throughout the city until a big showdown between Miz and Bo’s characters. This is Miz’s third time in the lead role of this franchise and he actually developed some marginal acting chops by this point and manages to carry the lead role well enough for this type of low budget action film. Bo Dallas was also a pleasant surprise as the most prominent Lost Legion member throughout the film and proves to be a viable head villain by the end of the movie. As for Curtis Axel, Heath Slater and Naomi…well they gave it a good effort for it being their first film!

The Interrogation is a little more complex and not your by-the-numbers action film. It reminded me a lot of Die Hard: With a Vengeance, just not as good. It starts off with the film’s antagonist, Vasti (Patrick Sabongui) bombing an office building and immediately turning himself in. He is questioned by pro-FBI interrogator Lucas Nolan (Edge). Oh yeah, WWE star Lana is in this film too in a minor role as part of the anti-terror team that assists Lucas throughout the film. I never got use to her in here because it is befuddling seeing Lana without her trademark Russian accent she is notorious for on WWE programming. Vasti wants to play mind games with Lucas though and quotes literature and uses other subtle tells to clue Lucas in on his next several targets that he has rigged up to explode. The film makes use of a “memory house” technique where Lucas goes into deep thought to piece together Vasti’s clues that is fun to play along with.

If you are into these sorts of mystery-thrillers that invite the audience to solve the mystery along with the hero, than The Interrogation may be up your alley (for the record, The Prestige is my favorite type of these films). I am awful at putting clues and hints together in these sorts of mind-benders, so I sat back and enjoyed the ride where Lucas and his anti-terror team were constantly on the move attempting to stop the next bomb to mixed results. I did not see the big twist coming as it took me by surprise, and I thought the filmmakers did a good job at justifying how it all played out. The Interrogation appears to have a little more of a production budget compared to the average WWE film as it implements more dynamic city-wide shots and far more intense action scenes than what I am use to from WWE Studios. Edge is OK as Lucas, and I think he gave this serious role his best shot, but I am so use to seeing him as a more lighthearted character in both his WWE and non-WWE roles.

Both Interrogation and Marine 5 follow the same blueprint for their meager sampling of extra features. Both BluRays have two short behind-the-scenes features around four-to-five minutes long each. I dug how Interrogation broke down how it pulled off its impressive explosions with their DIY approach. Marine 5’s extras were entertaining as it was mostly the WWE stars being thrilled and about making their acting debuts and loving the spooky amusement park setting. I would have loved for all six WWE stars to sit down with the director of Marine 5 for the ultimate commentary track, but alas it was not to be.

I know this is faint praise, but Marine 5: Battlegrounds is easily my favorite of the five. Set aside the fact it is The Miz with an ensemble cast of opening act WWE stars, and there is a fun tale of an EMT taking on an army of biker thugs to be had. It is a prime popcorn action movie to enjoy with your loved one! As for Interrogation, well I as I stated earlier it is a poor man’s Die Hard 3, and I just happened to have seen that Die Hard just a few months ago and The Interrogation simply does not measure up, but it does have a couple of good moments and shows a few glimpses of being an entertaining mind-bender throughout, but not enough to warrant a viewing. Stick with Die Hard 3 and/or The Prestige instead!

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Christmas Eve
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Dirty Work
Fast and Furious I-VIII
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Guardians of the Galaxy
Hercules: Reborn
Man of Steel
Marine 3-5
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Steve Jobs
Source Code
Star Trek I-XIII
Take Me Home Tonight
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
Veronica Mars
The War
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

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