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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Marine 4: Moving Target

August 23, 2017 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Marine 4 Moving Target

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #424: The Marine 4: Moving Target

The Marine Marathon: Week 4

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never been ambushed by high priced, heavily armed mercenaries in the woods (or anywhere, really), The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number four hundred and twenty-four, The Marine Marathon continues with the second part of “The Miz Trilogy,” The Marine 4: Moving Target, which was released on home video in mid-April 2015.

The Marine 4: Moving Target

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The Marine 4: Moving Target, directed by the great William Kaufman, is a big improvement over the previous entry, The Marine 3: Homecoming. The story is better, the action is better, and it feels like an actual, complete movie. The presence of The Miz is still a big problem, but it isn’t as big of a problem as in Homecoming. Outside of just having another pro wrestler in the movie, I’m still trying to figure out why Summer Rae is in it. More on that later.

So anyway, Moving Target picks up after the events of Homecoming with the Miz’s “badass” Marine Sgt. Jake Carter just out of the corps and getting ready to start his new civilian job as a professional bodyguard for a company known as Hawthorne Global Security. Carter’s first assignment for Hawthorne is protecting a corporate whistleblower named Olivia Tanis (Melissa Roxburgh). Tanis is some sort of hip and edgy tech worker/hacker type who has access to incriminating information on Genesis Defense Corporation, a major defense contractor. I’m still trying to figure out what, exactly, Genesis did that was so wrong (I think they sold the U.S. military, among other things, faulty body armor), but you know it’s bad because, at the very beginning of the movie, we see a super-secret computer at Genesis looking to acquire the services of Vogel, who is some sort of badass “asset”/professional assassin/mercenary. We don’t really know that when we first see the name “Vogel,” but then who or what else could Vogel be? Tanis is a handful when we and Carter first meet her as she doesn’t trust the federal government or, really, anyone else. She’s scared to death that Genesis is going to send someone after her. Carter and his fellow Hawthorne colleagues, including Carter’s old pal Daniels (Craig Veroni), try to keep Tanis calm, but, again, she’s scared. When are the Genesis people going to get her? And who the hell is this Carter guy?

It doesn’t take long for the hooey to hit the fan and for Vogel and his fellow Genesis mercenaries to show up as they attack the Hawthorne security caravan. Trucks explode, windows are shot out, and just about every member of the Hawthorne security team is killed (the federal agents that handed Tanis over to the Hawthorne people are also killed). Carter manages to survive the attack, though, and takes out several of the Genesis mercs while moving Tanis into the woods. After killing a few more mercs, Carter manages to steal a truck and get Tanis to a Hawthorne safe house that’s near a lake. While trying to regroup, Tanis freaks out because she can’t figure out how the hell this Carter guy survived the attack and isn’t sure she should trust him. Carter, meanwhile, just wants Tanis to accept his protection so he can then figure out what their next step should be. Call the cops? Call the feds? Are the Genesis mercs going to find them?

While all of that is going, Daniels and fellow protector/attack survivor Ethan Smith (Mathew MacCaull) show up at the safe house. How did they survive? Carter holds both of them at gunpoint and demands an explanation. Daniels tries to explain how he and Smith survived the caravan ambush, but before he can do that Smith shoots him in the head and reveals himself to be a secret Genesis employee. Smith then threatens to shoot Carter if he doesn’t divulge Tanis’s location. Carter, being the “badass” Marine that he is, fake negotiates with Smith and then beats the shit out of him. Carter escapes the safe house with Tanis at his side and Vogel and Genesis reinforcements nearby. How the hell are they going to get out of this?

So then some stuff happens, Tanis decides to run off on her own (she knocks Carter out with a rock to the back of the head), and the story shifts to a small town in the middle of nowhere. Tanis finds a police station and attempts to explain what the hell is going on. The local detective, Paul Redman (Paul McGillion), sort of believes her, but her story seems so insane. Heavily armed mercenaries out to kill her? How often does that kind of thing happen in a small northwest town? Carter eventually comes to and finds the local police and explains what’s going on. Unlike Tanis, no one believes a word Carter says. While all of that is going on, Smith calls up Redman and feeds him a fake story about Carter and Tanis being dangerous. Redman believes Smith because why wouldn’t he? Carter and Tanis are quickly placed into custody.

Smith shows up at the police station and tries to use his credentials to get Carter and Tanis placed into his custody. Before that can happen, though, Vogel and what’s left of his Genesis merc team show up and kill damn near every cop in the building. Basically, Vogel is through fucking around and wants Tanis and Carter dead and he and his merc team will do anything they can to finish the job. While all of that is going on, Carter devises a plan to get out of the police station, rescue Tanis, and kill as many of the Genesis mercs as he can. Carter is still a goddamn Marine, and Marines never quit.

The rest of the movie is one long chase after Carter and Tanis manage to get out of the police station and back to the woods. It’s in the woods that Carter, with his Marine Special Forces training, can gain the upper hand. He may be outnumbered, but odds are the mercs don’t have the wilderness training that he has. Vogel might, but his underlings? And Smith? Doubtful.

What I like most about Moving Target is that it has no problem being essentially one big chase movie chock full of action, both gun battles and hand-to-hand brawls. Even when it slows down to allow the audience (and the characters) to catch their breath there’s still a palpable sense of dread about what the heck is going to happen next. We all know that the bad guys aren’t going to stop looking for Tanis and that they will do just about anything to complete their assignment. And if the Genesis mercs are willing to kill an entire police force simply because they can, in broad daylight, how is Carter going to stop them? The Genesis mercs are vicious bastards through and through. They kill damn near everyone via headshot, and they enjoy shooting people who are clearly already dead just to make sure that they are actually dead. Only truly awful bad guys would do something like that, especially after multiple massive car bombs and a machine gun assault. How the hell are the Hawthorne people supposed to survive an onslaught like that?

When the movie enters the woods and it becomes a kind of First Blood/Rambo: First Blood Part II kind of deal where Carter kills the bad guys using his wilderness survival training it’s kind of hard to believe that Carter would have the time to put together all of the lethal traps that are waiting for the Genesis crew. At the same time, even though he’s playing a “badass” Marine Special Forces Operator, it’s still hard to believe that the Miz is the guy with all of the necessary skills to build flying spike traps and whatnot. The action and fighting are good, though, so at least the movie has that stuff going for it. And I must say that the aftermath of the traps is bloodier and nastier than I expected. I’m always down for that kind of thing, even if it isn’t all that believable.

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The Miz does a better job in this movie as Jake Carter, but it’s still hard to take him as a full on badass hero. His fight scenes are fairly well done and he looks good beating the crap out of the bad guys (I like his flying Rock Bottom move in the safe house brawl). The Miz also doesn’t look out of place wielding various submachine guns and rifles, which is always a plus. He still has an “integrity” problem, though. Every time he says something heroic or something that helps explain his badass Marine background you just want him to stop talking because it sounds like bullshit. The Miz also has zero chemistry with Melissa Roxburgh, Tanis, which is a real problem. In this kind of movie, you really need the two leads to have some sort of chemistry. But then you never really like Tanis anyway, even if you sympathize with her plight. Roxburgh is a good actress, but, at the same time, I just wish I could have liked her. It would have helped the movie tremendously.

Josh Blacker, who plays Vogel, is a rat bastard mercenary that you want to see go down hard. He’s vicious, he’s mean, he’s just awful. He comes off as exactly the kind of guy a greedy corporation would hire to take out a whistleblower. He has good bad guy chemistry with Mathew MacCaull’s Ethan Smith, who is just as awful as Vogel. However, am I the only one who noticed how Vogel and Smith, despite being partners in trying to track down and kill Tanis, hate one another and want to kill one another? It’s not like they say to one another “I hate you and I want to kill you,” but there are moments where they talk to one another and the tension between them is electric. It’s too bad they never fight in the movie. I bet it would have been interesting.

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Now, when it comes to WWE Diva Summer Rae’s appearance in the movie, I don’t quite understand what she adds to the movie beyond a name that pro wrestling nerds will recognize. Summer Rae actually does a decent job as the Genesis mercenary Rachel Dawes. She can fight and she doesn’t look ridiculous holding a gun. Her character doesn’t say anything until well past the half-way mark, and while she’s introduced as a super sniper of some sort, she’s never labeled in the movie as especially dangerous. She does fight the Miz, but their big scene together is just an action scene. It isn’t a big moment in the movie at all. And the way her character is dispatched is played as just another body for the pile. Rachel Dawes could have been played by anyone, any female stunt person, or any female actor who can hold a gun convincingly. Perhaps she should have played the Tanis character, or some other, meatier character (why not have her play a cop that teams up with Carter to protect Tanis after her fellow cops are killed? That would have made more sense to me). A missed opportunity. I do think that Summer Rae, if she decides to get out of the pro wrestling business, could make a viable go of it as a direct-to-video action star.

The Marine 4: Moving Target is a step in the right direction for The Marine franchise. It’s a pretty good action movie that’s a vast improvement over the last one. The Miz needs to work on his on screen integrity, though. I don’t know he can “fix” that, but it’s something that, if he keeps making movies like Moving Target, he’s going to have to work on. He’s not quite there yet. Moving Target is worth seeing, though. That I’m very sure of.

See The Marine 4: Moving Target. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: If it’s less than 25 I’d be shocked.

Explosions: Several, big and small. Nothing as spectacular as the first two movies, but they look decent enough, even the CGI ones.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A weird opening, attempted tie tying, a truck convoy, truck convoy attack, exploding truck, grenade attack, a CGI fire, machine gun attack, a wicked gun battle, sniper hooey, multiple bullets to the head, running into the woods and killing people, gun stealing, a safe house, a closet armory, face washing, more bullets to the head, cereal bowl to the head, a flying rock bottom, lamp throwing, knife attack, fireplace poker attack, boat escape, rock to the back of the head, hitchhiking, muscle car stealing, serious mass cop killing, a shootout, a nasty leg wound multiple bloody bullet hits, more serious cop killing, serious exploding doorway, truck stealing, an arm wound, even more bullets to the head, simply running into the woods, flak jacket hooey, cell phone signal search, more sniper hooey, neck breaking, knife killing, a hanging booby-trap, multiple spiky booby-traps to the head, automatic handgun hooey, a knife fight, a human shield, a quick hand-to-hand brawl, bullet to the back of the head, a machine gun beating, dirt to the eyes, double arm breaking, front face lock neck break, a brutal hand-to-hand brawl, a montage of people being arrested, a windsock, and a clean suit.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: The Miz, The Miz taking a shower, The Miz attempting to shave, The Miz attempting to tie a tie, Summer Rae, mercenaries making sure dead people are really dead, surveillance cameras, canned food gathering, The Miz taking out a guy with a flying rock bottom, cop killing, trail tracking, a knife fight between The Miz and Summer Rae, and a clean suit.

Best lines: “I never thought I’d see you in a monkey suit, Jake, but I gotta tell ya, you look ridiculous. Thank you, sir,” “That’s enough, Carter,” “They’re flanking! Watch your 3 and 9!,” “This is my first day,” “What are you doing? Planning for the worst,” “Have you ever heard the term Semper Fi?,” “I won’t let them get to you,” “I’m not eating that. Is there anything organic?,” “Go on, call my bluff, bitch,” “Why’s Carter still alive?,” “Jesus! How many times do I have to save your life before you trust me?,” “Whoever you talked to is lying!,” “What are you doing? My job,” “It’s Carter,” “I just murdered a whole police station. What’s a few more?,” “So, what, we’re supposed to die out here in the woods?,” “I don’t want to argue with you. Good, then don’t,” “Ready? Of course not,” “Are you kidding me? They slipped past all of you?,” “Amateurs,” “I don’t usually like to shoot people in the back of the head when they’re not looking. Sometimes I want them to see it coming,” “Wow, Carter, you look like hell,” and “See you later, Marine.”

Rating: 6.9/10.0

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Things to Watch Out For This Week

AshVsEvilDeadSeason2

Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 2: The second season of the best show on TV is full of great, insane moments (the second episode will likely live on forever because of what our hero Ash goes through). It’s cool to see Ash go back to his hometown, to see Ash interact with his father (played by Lee Majors) and an old high school friend (played by Ted Raimi), a new super evil in Baal, and one of the most heartbreaking moments in Evil Dead history. Since we don’t know when, exactly, season three is going to air (it sounds like early 2018 but nothing is definite at the moment), this DVD set is going to have to hold us over until we get actual word on when season three will air. Be sure to get the first season, too, if you don’t have it already. Ash vs. Evil Dead! Yeah!

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: This is a terrific sequel that’s fun as hell. The opening sequence is brilliant, the story is actually pretty good (it drags every so often but I think it’s more engaging than the first movie), and whenever you bring in Kurt Russell your coolness factor increases by a factor of ten. The only thing that disappointed me about Vol. 2 is the lack of a Lloyd Kaufman cameo. Or is there one and I just missed it? Anyway, Vol. 2 is a fun movie and something you’ll want to check out again or for the first time.

DarkSilence

Dark Silence: Based on the trailer below, I’m guessing this is meant to be a kind of low budget riff on The Babadook. It seems to have that vibe going for it, but then that could just be what the trailer editor did. The actual movie could be something else entirely. Dark Silence looks moody and messed up. Some of the acting is a bit stiff, but that’s okay. Check out that imagery. Rentable.

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Vicious Lips: I’ve never seen this movie, as it’s been hard to find on home video over the years (well, it’s been hard to find for me. I could never find it in any video store). It was directed by the great Albert Pyun (it was his fourth release) and it looks weird as hell. It’s a horror movie, it’s some kind of rock musical, and it has a sci-fi vibe going for it, too. The fine folks at Shout!/Scream Factory are releasing this on Blu-ray with some special features (you can find previews of those special features on YouTube). This is a definite must have for those of you who have Blu-ray players. Anyone out there see this? Anyone at all?

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TheAdventuresofHerculesPart2

Hercules/The Adventures of Hercules II: These Cannon Pictures fantasy epics were fun back in the day, and they’re still kind of fun, eventhough they come off as kind of ridiculous. They show up on the MGMHD channel every so often, and they’re always worth checking out, even if they’re not all that “accomplished.” Shout! Factory is putting both of these movies out on Blu-ray. I do believe there are special features on these releases, so that’s cool. I bet these movies have never looked any better.

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B-Movie News

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Ultimate Justice coming this October to DVD: I heard about this low budget action flick back in February and have been waiting for actual release date news. Well, now we have an actual release date, and it’s October 3rd. And we should be excited. Mark Dacascos stars in it alongside the great Mathias Hues, Mike Moller, and Brandon Rhea, all badasses in their own right. And it looks like we’re in store for some gunfights, explosions, and hand-to-hand brawls all over the place, which is always fine with me. I do wonder, though, if this movie had some other title when it was in production and the title was changed to Ultimate Justice. I like the title Ultimate Justice but, at the same time, it sounds kind of generic. But then that’s what makes the low budget, direct-to-video so awesome.

Remember, this comes out October 3rd. So, you know, be on the lookout for it.

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New trailer for Beyond Skyline released: And, holy crap, this movie looks insane. I despised the first Skyline. Yes, it had impressive special effects, but that was about it. The acting was terrible and the story was horrendous (and don’t get me started on the ending, which was, is, and always will be ridiculous). Beyond Skyline may end up having the same kind of crappy ending, but it looks like we’re also going to get Frank Grillo and Iko Uwais taking on various aliens, and that’s enough to make me want to see it. I’m still not sure when, exactly, this is coming out, or what kind of actual release it’s getting, but everything I’ve read seems to indicate that it is coming out this year. We still have like four and a half months left in the year, so, I guess, it could be soon or we’ll just have to wait until early 2018 to see it.

If Beyond Skyline gets a full on theatrical release, who wants to make an effort to see it on the big screen?

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The Hidden getting new Blu-ray from Warner Archive: The Hidden is a great sci-fi action horror movie from the 1980’s. Directed by Jack Sholder (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge) and starring Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Nouri and featuring Claudia Christian, Clu Gulager, Ed O’Ross, and Richard Brooks, this is a movie that should have spawned a franchise. Yes, there was a sequel, but that movie wasn’t as successful as the first one. This Blu-ray is set to have the same special features on it as the old New Line Cinema Home Video release, but the transfer is new. That New Line release is seriously out of print at the moment (it’s like fifty bucks on amazon at the moment) so this is a must have if you don’t already have it on home video. You’ll have to get it online, though, as Warner Archive is online only.

Who else is a fan of The Hidden?

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Coming this September

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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 concludes with The Marine 5: Battleground !

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Interviews

david j. moore
Jino Kang
Vladimir Kulich
Paul Mormando
Michael Matteo Rossi
Tyrone Magnus
Hector Barron
Jeffrey Orgill
Michael Baumgarten
R. Marcos Taylor
Don “The Dragon” Wilson
Paul Kyriazi
Eric Jacobus
Juju Chan
Luke LaFontaine
Marco Siedlemann
Sam Firstenberg
Amariah Olson
Alexander Nevsky
Mathias Hues
Kristanna Loken
Steve Mitchell
Albert Pyun
Brad Thornton
Mathieu Ratthe
Damien Power
Kelsey Carlisle
Mike Dwyer
Nicholas Bushman

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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 4: Moving Target

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin– Sgt. Jake Carter
Melissa Roxburgh– Olivia Tanis
Josh Blacker– Andrew Vogel
Mathew MacCaull– Ethan Smith
Summer Rae– Rachel Dawes
Paul McGillion– Detective Paul Redman
Craig Veroni– Daniels
Roark Critchlow– Nate Miller

Directed by William Kaufman
Screenplay by Alan B. McElroy, based on characters created by Scott Wiper and Declan O’Brien

Distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Rated R for violence and language
Runtime– 90 minutes

Buy it here