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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Marine 3: Homefront

August 16, 2017 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Marine 3: Homefront Miz

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #423: The Marine 3: Homefront

The Marine Marathon: Week 3

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never been attacked in the woods by multiple assailants, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number four hundred and twenty-three, The Marine Marathon continues with The Marine 3: Homefront, which hit home video in March 2013.

The Marine 3: Homefront

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The Marine 3: Homefront, directed and co-written by Scott Wiper, is the first in “The Miz Trilogy,” meaning that it stars WWE superstar The Miz (or Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, as it shows in the credits). The Miz is the first WWE star to appear in more than one The Marine movie, for reasons that I don’t quite understand at the moment. After watching his first outing, I can’t figure out why The Miz was asked back for another one.

The Miz is Sgt. Jake Carter, a badass Marine Special Forces operator on leave in his hometown in Washington State (it’s a small town called Bridgeton that’s outside of Seattle). Carter is in town to visit with his sisters Amanda (Camille Sullivan) and Lilly (Ashley Bell) and his old pal Harkin (Jared Kesso), who is now the Sheriff of Bridgeton. Carter’s parents are both dead, and to a certain extent Carter sees himself as the new family leader. When he’s in town Carter acts like an overly attentive big brother and a kind of father figure, something that annoys both of his sisters, especially Lilly. On some level, both Amanda and Lilly appreciate Carter’s brotherly love, but he can be overbearing. Carter is always concerned with who Lilly hangs out with and whether or not she can keep a job. Why can’t Carter just be a big brother and accept Lilly’s life decisions? Why does he always think it’s his job to get involved and “fix” her problems? Harkin is just glad to see his old friend again. In fact, Harkin picks Carter up from the bus station when he arrives in town. That’s what friends do, right?

As Carter gets reacquainted with his sisters and Harkin, weirdo domestic terrorist Jonah Pope (Neal McDonough) and his band of followers (including the now late but always great martial artist Darren Shahlavi as a guy named Cazel) decide to rob a bank. Now, instead of jacking the bank of all of its money on hand, Pope decides only to take “what he needs” and burns the rest of it in the middle of the lobby. Why the hell would someone rob a bank and then burn up a good chunk of the money? Basically, Pope despises “rich people” who “exploit, steal from, and leach off the middle class.” Burning money from a bank that deals with rich people is his way of striking a blow against those rich people. The money he does take from the bank, though, is set to be used to pay his men and fund his big secret scheme “to make a statement” about how rich people exploit the masses. He apparently knows exactly how much money both of those things will cost, which is kind of amazing because when was the last time you saw a terrorist in a movie figure out how much money his terrorism costs? I can’t remember the last time it happened.

So we’ve got two stories happening at once, Carter’s family stuff and Pope’s big scheme. How are those two stories going to come together (because they’re going to have to come together)? Lilly goes off into the woods with her boyfriend Darren (Jeffrey Ballard) to hang out and do whatever the heck it is young people do in the woods in Bridgeton (it seems as though they like to go into the woods and scrounge for metal and car parts and whatnot. That’s what Lilly and Darren seem to be doing). While that’s happening, Pope is buying military explosives from a guy who, as tends to happen in these kinds of action movies, tries to get Pope to dole out more money than originally agreed to. Pope doesn’t take to kindly to the double cross and promptly puts a bullet in the seller’s head. Lilly and Darren see this go down, freak out, make themselves visible, and they try to escape. Pope’s men quickly apprehend Lilly and Darren and decide, right then and there, hostages are worth having, just in case the big scheme goes south.

Right before she’s captured, though, Lilly manages to call Amanda and tells her what’s happening in the woods. Amanda then calls her brother Jake, and Jake grabs the family shotgun and runs into the woods to find Lilly. It doesn’t take long for Jake Carter to find trouble as he takes out several of Pope’s men who are patrolling the woods. See, Pope’s hideout is a big boat that’s docked at a lake that’s next to the woods, and since Pope doesn’t want people messing around with his base he has his men keep people out. That is what good terrorist masterminds do, isn’t it? After taking out Pope’s patrol, Carter is apprehended by a group of FBI agents who just so happen to be initiating an operation against Pope. Under the direction of Agent Wells (Steve Bacic), the FBI plans on arresting Pope and his men and preventing his big scheme from happening.

And what, exactly, is Pope’s big scheme? Pope wants to blow up a conference of rich people in Seattle. Using the stolen military explosives and a cop car, Pope intends to kill as many rich people as he can while getting maximum cable TV coverage (presumably the conference is set to be extensively covered by the national and international news media). According to Pope, the world needs to know just how awful these rich people are, and maybe by killing a bunch of them everyone else will wake up and decide that more of them need to die. Or something like that. I don’t quite understand why Pope’s scheme isn’t more of a “lone wolf” type operation as opposed to something involving multiple people. Why does he need a team to do what he wants to do? It’s not like he plans on blowing up multiple buildings in Seattle. Having an army makes sense if that’s the big scheme. But it’s just one building and one meeting. So, again, why have an army? Are they meant to be fodder for any potential FBI assault, sort of human shields Pope can throw in front of himself as he speeds away to his target?

Carter finds out about Pope’s big scheme but doesn’t seem to be all that concerned by it. All Carter wants to know is what Wells and his FBI team plans to do to get Lilly and, to a lesser extent, Darren, back safe and sound. Carter isn’t impressed by Wells’ lack of focus on his sister and announces that he wants to go into Pope’s compound himself and rescue Lilly. Agent Wells shoots Carter’s plan down immediately. Marine or no Marine, the FBI can’t allow non-FBI operators to get in the way. The FBI knows what it’s doing. The FBI assaults Pope’s compound. And the FBI gets its ass kicked. A massive shootout ensues, there are multiple explosions, and several FBI SWAT agents die. Some plan.

So Carter sees all of this, gets pissed off, demands to go in by himself, is shot down once again, and then assaults multiple FBI agents, an act that gets him arrested. Carter’s old pal Harkin actually takes Carter away in handcuffs. You can’t assault FBI agents, even when it’s obvious to everyone in the world that Agent Wells is outgunned and out of his depth. But then Harkin lets Carter go and gives him a gun. He knows that Carter isn’t going to stop. He knows that Carter is going to do whatever he can to save Lilly. Lilly is Carter’s sister. And Carter is a goddamn Marine. Infiltrating compounds chock full of bad guys and then killing those bad guys is what Marines like Jake Carter do.

I will admit that, to a certain extent, the story for Homefront has some juice to it. It’s a story that has a politically motivated villain, it talks about the middle class being exploited by mega rich people, and it features a middle class badass, Jake Carter, as its hero. However, all of those “political” ideas are just background details. They inform the plot, but there’s no big showdown over those details. And when you take into account Pope’s big speech to Lilly, where he explains himself, you’d think there would be a final fight where Pope explains those ideas to Carter and Carter kicks his ass over them. None of that happens, though. Pope’s motivation could have been anything, any possible grievance any person ever in the history of the world could have. The fact that Pope is against rich people doesn’t really mean anything in the end. So why have Pope despise rich people? Why not just have him hate the federal government/state government/whatever? Or why not just have Pope hate people in general because he’s a psycho and blowing up a building in Seattle just seems like the thing to do? That would make more sense, at least it would make more sense to me.

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As for the presence of the Miz as the star, he tries hard to do a good job but, on the whole, he doesn’t have the necessary screen presence or outward integrity to be the hero of the story. The Miz does an okay job with the fight scenes he’s put into and doesn’t look like a doofus wielding a machine gun, but he’s terrible at just about everything else. He tries hard, sure, but he can’t quite pull it off. He just doesn’t have the innate integrity that John Cena and Ted DiBiase, Jr. had when they made their movie debuts in The Marine and The Marine 2.

So why is Homefront the first in a series of three (so far) The Marine movies starring the Miz? I don’t get it. Did Homefront make tons of money and it made sense to have the Miz come back? Is the Miz the only The Marine star to agree to come back for another one? No one else on the WWE roster wanted to do it, so why not bring back the Miz? Did one of the producers figure that it was worth giving the Miz another shot because he has all sorts of potential? If someone out there knows why the Miz was brought back, drop me a line and let me know. Again, I don’t get it.

Now, I don’t want this to look like I’m picking on the Miz. He could probably be a decent enough actor in the right movie and in the right role. He’d probably do well as a sidekick or as a villain (he’s a villain in the WWE, one of the best, because he’s such a smarmy piece of shit). But should he be a hero in an action movie? After watching Homefront, I have to say that it was a mistake he was made The Marine in the first place. He just doesn’t have what it takes. I’m hoping that his screen presence improves in the next two movies because, if it doesn’t, man, it’s going to be a long two weeks.

Neal McDonough does a good job as Pope. His character is let down by the way the story plays itself out, but McDonough makes the most of what he’s given and is interesting to watch. He also seems to have enough physical presence to be a match for Carter in the event that they have a hand-to-hand throw down. That doesn’t happen, though, so that was a major missed opportunity. McDonough does make you believe in what he believes for a brief moment when he explains his hatred of rich people to Lilly. You don’t really like him, though, because he’s a murderer, but at least you kind of understand what he’s all about for a few moments.

Ashley Bell does a decent job as Lilly, Jake Carter’s somewhat troubled sister. She knows how to be spunky and how to be vulnerable, and you get the sense that if Pope’s men didn’t have guns she would have tried to fight her way out of the woods. Camille Sullivan doesn’t get to do all that much as Jake’s other sister Amanda, but she does an okay job with she is given to do, so she has that going for her. Jared Kesso doesn’t get to do all that much, either, despite being the town’s sheriff and Carter’s old pal. I really thought he would join Carter in his assault on Pope’s compound, but he doesn’t get to do that. Why be the sheriff if you don’t get to help an old friend kill bad guys?

Jeffrey Ballard is annoying as Lilly’s boyfriend Darren, but then that’s how Darren is supposed to be. When you look at him like that Ballard does a good job. He isn’t believable at all as a guy who could help fight off heavily armed bad guys, but then Ballard is only doing what the script calls for.

Darren Shahlavi does his usual good job as Cazel. He knows how to play the dangerous henchman and just exudes badassness, which is what you want in a dangerous henchman. He has an okay fight with the Miz. The Miz is always going to win the fight because he’s the hero and Shahlavi is a henchman so you know he’s going to lose, but I really wanted to see him get a little more fighting in before he’s dispatched like a punk.

The Marine 3: Homefront is a massive disappointment. It looks good, but it just doesn’t work at all. The story is meaningless, the star is out of his depth, and outside of some okay action scenes, the movie isn’t all that entertaining. It’s watchable, I guess, but it should have been much, much more.

Only see The Marine 3: Homefront if you absolutely have to. Otherwise, I wouldn’t make much of an effort to see it. It’s just not that great.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 20+

Explosions: Several, both big and small.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A serene opening, choppers, a battle montage, bus riding, guy shit, a cold beer, serious food, talk about golf, talk about sleep, a bank robbery, money burning, a boat HQ, a chop shop, bar stuff, a bar fight, some serious head smashing, a double cross, bullet to the head, shotgun hooey, a deep woods beatdown, wallet stealing, chair bondage, anti-capitalism, attempted rape, silencer hooey, sniper hooey, assault, a shootout, thump gun hooey, lead pipe attack, metal rod through the gut, another shootout, bullet to the back of the head, glass breaking, attempted knife assault, giant wrench attack, a serious beating, cop car hooey, a map, dirt bike hooey, car attack, yet another shootout, a very dead bad guy, a wild flip, a massive explosion, and an ending that isn’t all that impressive.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: The Miz, The Miz doing a voiceover, the Marine flag, an explanation of “Semper Fi,” The Miz riding a bus, The Miz using the “F” word, Neal McDonough, Darren Shahlavi, anti-capitalism, a boat hideout The Miz using a machine gun, a slow motion cocky group walk, and an ending that isn’t all that impressive.

Best lines: “You lost, boy? You daddy know you out playing cop?,” “You look as dumb as ever,” “You told Kressy to go fuck himself?,” “Here’s to coming home in one piece,” “Welcome home you big buzzkill,” “I don’t like bankers,” “I know him. I trust him. Well, that’s just cute,” “Jesus fucking Christ, Jake,” “USDA. Prime cut,” “I don’t like problems,” “Can’t have these on my boat,” “I’ve got no trouble with you. My sister is missing. I’ve got trouble with that,” “Call the state police!,” “I can help you. Infiltration and extraction. It’s what I do,” “How do I look? I’d shoot you,” “This can’t be much fun for you,” “Do you like rich people?,” “What do you want? I just want to be heard,” “Are you happy with the world you live in?,” “Don’t you fucking touch me!,” “Who’s Amanda?,” “Don’t tell me what I can’t have,” “You’re blowing up a building?,” “Get your fucking hands up!,” “Didn’t I tell you to leave? Fuck that. I’ll thank you later,” “Relax back there. Stop fucking fidgeting,” “You can’t take that shot. But I can,” “It’s a bomb,” and “How much time? Not good.”

Rating: 4.8/10.0

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Things to Watch Out For This Week

OnceUponaTimeinVenice

Once Upon a Time in Venice: I reviewed this weird ass movie not that long ago (check out the review for it here) and it really is something you have to see in order to fully understand its weirdness. It will be interesting to see if this movie finds an audience on home video, because it does come off as one of those movies that will find an audience at some point. It’s a definite must see for Bruce Willis completists because, you know, Bruce Willis is in the movie.

UnionFurnaceDVD

Union Furnace: This is a nifty little low budget horror thriller that features the great Keith David. I’ll be doing a full review for it soon, so, you know, be on the lookout for that. I’m not sure where you can buy it, though, beyond Vimeo On Demand at the moment. I couldn’t find it on amazon and I have no idea if Walmart is going to have it. Be on the lookout for it, though. It’s worth checking out.

AlienCovenant

Alien: Covenant: I don’t think it’s wrong to say that we were all pulling for the great Ridley Scott on this movie, especially after Prometheus, which isn’t a terrible movie but, at the same time, isn’t very good. We all wanted Covenant to be awesome and kick ass, and after that trailer where we see the Xenomorph in all of its nasty glory I think we all thought Covenant was going to be awesome. Unfortunately, Covenant isn’t awesome. Covenant is merely adequate. It has good production design, good creature effects, it’s creepy at times, but it isn’t satisfying at all. Could it be that we all thought we were getting an Alien movie instead of a sequel to Prometheus, which is what we actually got? And could the whole “what the hell is going on here?” vibe that the movie has be what killed it at the box office and made it a flop? Because, really, what the hell is going on? David hates humanity, so he created Xenomorphs to get back at them or some shit? I do want to see Ridley Scott finish whatever the hell he’s working on here with a third movie, because I am curious to see what he’s moving towards. I don’t know if that’s going to happen, though. It sure seems like Fox wants to get out of the Ridley Scott/Alien business. Anyone out there actually like this movie?

MissingInActionBR

Missing in Action Collector’s Edition: This Blu-ray comes to us from the fine folks at Shout! Factory, so you know that the presentation is going to be awesome. The special features on this aren’t as extensive as I would like them to be (why aren’t we getting a behind-the-scenes documentary? Is that being saved for a potential Missing in Action franchise box set?) but the disc does have a commentary track with director Joseph Zito. If you’ve heard his tracks for Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter or Red Scorpion you know that his track for MIA will be awesome. So, based on the commentary track alone, this is a must own Blu-ray. Come on, Shout! Factory, where are the other two MIA movies?

HailtotheChinBook

Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B-Movie Actor: This is the sequel to Bruce Campbell’s If Chins Could Kill, which came out fifteen years ago. Campbell has done quite a bit since then, both in terms of movies and TV (mostly TV, as he’s directed a few low budget movies and had two successful TV series with Burn Notice and Ash vs. Evil Dead, which is still going on at the moment). If you’re a Bruce Campbell nerd this book is an absolute must have. I know I’m going to own it at some point, and I can’t wait to start reading it. If Chins Could Kill is a great book. I’m sure Hail to the Chin will be, at least, just as awesome. Bruce Campbell, baby! Yeah!

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B-Movie News

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Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 3 delayed until early 2018?: It seems that way, yes. Starz hasn’t announced a premiere date yet for season 3, which is weird since production on season 3 ended this past June and the previous two seasons premiered during the fall. Star Bruce Campbell doesn’t seem to know when season 3 is set to be seen, either, and if he doesn’t know when the show is set to go out into the world no one does. As a diehard Ash vs. Evil Dead nerd (I reviewed the first two seasons) this is a major bummer because I want to see what the heck is set to happen next. And if the first two seasons debuted in the fall, why not season 3? Why do we have to wait for winter 2018 or whenever the fuck?

No one seems to know. There’s some speculation that Starz wants to avoid the new seasons of The Walking Dead and Stranger Things, both of which debut in the fall. That would seem to make sense, but then how dependent is AvED on day of viewing? And why wouldn’t horror/pop culture nerds want to watch all three shows (and doesn’t Stranger Things appear all at once?)? I don’t get it.

We will get to see season 3 eventually. The season is shot, so it’s not like Starz pulled the plug on it mid-stream. Hopefully, Starz figures out what the heck it’s doing with the show because, as far as I’m concerned, Ash vs. Evil Dead is the best show on TV and TV as a whole is a lesser place without the show.

Come on, Starz! Bring on season 3!

AhnoldT2

Terminator 6 is happening: Okay, so it seems like we are getting another Terminator movie, franchise creator Jim Cameron is going to be involved somehow, and star Ahnold Schwarzenegger will be back (ha). Tim Miller, of Deadpool fame/infamy, is still set to direct, too. And it sounds like Cameron wants to delve into why Ahnold’s visage is the Terminator, something that the other movies in the series really didn’t get into (Rise of the Machines had a deleted scene sort of explaining this, but it’s a deleted scene, so it might as well not even happened). Is that something we really need to get into?

And beyond that, how is this new movie going to handle the events of parts 3, 4, and 5? Are they still going to be a part of the Terminator story, or are Cameron and Miller setting up a Halloween H20 situation, where some of the sequels are ignored? And even with Cameron’s return to the franchise, is the movie going public all that interested in another Terminator movie? I am, although Genisys was, and still is, a fucking disaster. But how many people like me are there out there? Is the hope that, like Genisys, China will pick up the slack in terms of potential box office?

I guess we’ll find out soon enough. The movie starts production in 2018.

PaulMormando

Martial arts star Paul Mormando set to star in The Last Hero in 2018!: Mormando, who will be appearing later this year in Bound by Debt, is set to star for director John A. Gallagher (the man behind Street Hunter with Steve James and Reb Brown) in a movie that’s being described as “The Warriors meets Blackboard Jungle.” The Last Hero has also been described as a “revenge tale,” so it sounds like we’re dealing with a high concept action movie here.

The supporting cast for The Last Hero is expected to include Artie Pasquale, Sing Ka, and Lucie Pohl. Those are all intriguing people and should complement Mormando well in the movie’s story.

Hopefully, this movie happens and we get to see Mormando kick ass and take names two years in a row. Be sure to check out Bound by Debt this December, and then be on the lookout for The Last Hero. I know I will be keeping my eye out for it.

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Coming soon?

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Who is the Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!

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Next Issue: The Marine Marathon continues with The Marine 4: Moving Target !

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Check out my interview with david j. moore here!

Check out my interview with the great Jino Kang here!

Check out my interview with character actor Vladimir Kulich here!

Check out my interview with martial artist and actor Paul Mormando here!

Check out my interview with director Michael Matteo Rossi here!

Check out my interview with actor Tyrone Magnus here!

Check out my interview with Hector Barron here!

Check out my interview with Jeffrey Orgill here!

Check out my interview with director Michael Baumgarten here!

Check out my interview with actor and stuntman R. Marcos Taylor here!

Check out my interview with action movie legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson here!

Check out my interview with Paul Kyriazi, the director of Ninja Busters and Death Machines, here!

Check out my interview with martial artist and actor Eric Jacobus here!

Check out my interview with martial artist and actor Juju Chan here!

Check out my interview with noted stunt performer and stunt coordinator Luke LaFontaine here!
Check out my interview with film journalist Marco Siedlemann here!

Check out my interview with Revenge of the Ninja and American Ninja director Sam Firstenberg here!

Check out my interview with Amariah Olson, co-director of The Shadow Effect here!

Check out my interview with action star Alexander Nevsky here!

Check out my interview with action movie badass Mathias Hues here!

Check out my interview with actress and action star Kristanna Loken here!

Check out my interview with King Cohen: The Wild Film World of Larry Cohen director Steve Mitchell here!

Check out my interview with director Albert Pyun here!

Check out my interview with martial artist and actor Brad Thornton here!

Check out my interview with director Mathieu Ratthe here!

Check out my interview with director Damien Power here!

Check out my interview with actress Kelsey Carlisle here!

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Follow me on Twitter!

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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

The Marine 3: Homefront

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin– Sgt. Jake Carter
Neal McDonough– Jonah Pope
Ashley Bell– Lilly Carter
Camille Sullivan– Amanda Carter
Jeffrey Ballard– Darren Carlyle
Darren Shahlavi– Cazel
Jared Kesso– Sheriff Harkin
Michael Eklund– Eckert
Steve Bacic– Agent Wells

Directed by Scott Wiper
Screenplay by Scott Wiper and Declan O’Brien

Distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and WWE Studios

Rated R for violence and language
Runtime– 95 minutes

Buy it here or here