Movies & TV / Columns

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Marine 5: Battleground

August 30, 2017 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Marine 5: Battleground

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #425: The Marine 5: Battleground

The Marine Marathon: Week 5

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that wonders if anything good has ever happened in a movie (or in real life) inside of a parking garage, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number four hundred and twenty-five, The Marine Marathon concludes with the final part of “The Miz Trilogy,” The Marine 5: Battleground, which hit home video in April 2017.

The Marine 5: Battleground

TheMarine5Battleground

The Marine 5: Battleground, directed by James Nunn (he also directed the Scott Adkins WWE movie Eliminators, which I reviewed here), is easily the best of the “Miz Trilogy” as it features the Miz’s best performance of the three The Marine movies he’s done so far. The Miz’s integrity problem doesn’t rear its ugly head until the end of the movie, but by that time you’re willing to give his natural douchiness a pass considering what his character has just gone through. The other pro wrestlers in the cast, with the exception of the Miz’s wife Maryse, kick ass and are the real highlight of the movie.

The Miz once again plays ex-Marine Special Forces operator Jake Carter, and in this flick he’s a paramedic in some unnamed city. He still has those heroic Marine tendencies, like when he saves a seriously injured car wreck victim (that would be Maryse) despite his veteran paramedic partner Zoe (Anna Van Hooft) telling him to back off and stop being such a hero. If he doesn’t slow down, Carter will burn out and get himself or his partner or his patient killed. Carter doesn’t agree with that assessment, as being a hero is just a part of who he is. Carter and Zoe get a heart attack call from a parking garage next to a closed down amusement park and quickly make their way to the scene. As soon as they get there both Carter and Zoe suspect something is off about the call. How the hell did the patient get inside the parking garage, and why would someone experiencing a heart attack drive into the garage and park inside of the inner levels? They can’t drive their ambulance into the garage due to a height restriction at the entrance, so they go inside on foot. The garage is creepy as hell as there’s only a smattering of lights on and no one answers their calls of “Where are you?” When they do find their patient, a man named Cole (Nathan Mitchell), they find out that the heart attack call was a ruse and that there’s more than one patient inside the garage. That guy is dead, while Cole has a nasty bullet wound that he’s bleeding badly from. What the hell happened? Why did Cole drive into the garage?

Well, as we see at the beginning of the movie, Cole and his friend drive up to a biker bar in town, wait for the leader of the Lost Legion motorcycle gang to show up (some guy, I believe, named Rodrigo who doesn’t appear in the cast list on imdb) and then blow him away. This drive-by shooting enrages Lost Legion psycho member Alonzo (Bo Dallas) who opens fire on Cole’s truck. As the wounded Cole drives away Alonzo alerts his fellow Lost Legion members Deacon (Curtis Axel), Murphy (Naomi), Cash (Heath Slater), and Vincent (Sandy Robson). Alonzo, Deacon, and Murphy immediately go after Cole, with Vincent and Cash staying behind to gather up more members in the event that they’re needed. As Carter and Zoe work on Cole and work on getting him to their ambulance, the Lost Legion figures out that Cole likely went to the parking garage and they arrive to kill him.

Now, when Carter and Zoe find out that the Lost Legion gang is in the garage, heavily armed and pissed off and ready to kill, they momentarily freak out. They don’t know what Cole actually did to get a bullet wound. Why the hell would a biker gang want to kill him? Carter asks Cole what’s really going on. Cole explains his situation and what he did. Zoe wants to leave Cole behind and get the hell out of the garage. Carter, though, has no intention of leaving Cole to die. Cole is his patient, and since Carter is still a goddamn Marine, he isn’t going to leave a man behind. Zoe comes to her senses, agrees that it’s not a good idea for a paramedic to leave a wounded patient behind to die, and she tries to formulate a plan with Carter to get out of the garage without dying herself. They don’t have any weapons, there’s no cell phone signal inside of the garage, and the elevators don’t work. How the hell are they going to get out of the parking garage alive?

The parking garage set in this movie is creepy as hell. As soon as Carter and Zoe arrive you have no idea what the heck is in there. Battleground is an action movie, yes, but if director Nunn had wanted to do some kind of horror movie where Carter and Zoe had to team up with the Lost Legion bikers to fight a demonic force that was let loose inside of the garage it probably would have worked. It’s also cool how you, just like the characters, never really know where you are inside of the garage. What floor are you on? Where are the bikers? How the hell do you get out? You’re never quite sure. You just have to run and hope that the direction you’ve chosen is the right one.

As a result of how cool and moody the garage is, the action of Battleground is at its best when the story is inside of the garage. The level of action picks up once the story moves out of the garage for the last quarter of its runtime, but it’s never quite as good as it is when it’s inside the garage. Now, don’t get me wrong. The action outside of the garage is pretty good. There’s plenty of machine gun hooey going on, there’s some good fighting stuff, and there’s a very cool moment where a bad guy is hanged inside of an ambulance (you have to see the scene to completely understand it). But the stuff in the garage? All of it is excellent.

One thing that will likely surprise The Marine fans is the lack of explosions in Battleground. The other four The Marine movies were chock full of them. Small and massive explosions were a running motif of sorts. There’s only one in Battleground and it’s kind of on the wimpy side. I’m going to assume that director Nunn just wasn’t keen on having them in his movie, or it could have been a budget thing. “Real” explosions are expensive, and CGI explosions, even on big, mega budget extravaganzas are never as cool as a real one. The lack of explosions doesn’t kill Battleground, but it is something you will no doubt notice, especially if you’ve seen the other movies in the series.

I do want to make mention of the way the movie ends. The garage is next to an amusement park that has a gigantic Ferris wheel, a Ferris wheel that someone looks at and the camera lingers on for a moment. You’d think that the climax of the movie would take place at that Ferris wheel, with Carter battling bad guys on the Ferris wheel with Carter launching the last bad guy off of it. I mean, why feature the Ferris wheel if no one is getting thrown off it? Sort of like the lack of explosions, perhaps the production couldn’t afford to stage a complicated fight scene on a Ferris wheel. It is something you will notice.

TheMarine5TheMiz

Battleground probably has the best overall cast of any of The Marine movies. The Miz does his best work yet here as Jake Carter, paramedic. He, and director Nunn, have almost figured out his integrity problem and, as a result, Carter is actually likeable in this movie. The Miz once again does a decent job in the movie’s many fight and action scenes, although he only uses one pro wrestling move. Why is that? Why have a pro wrestler in your movie and not have him use multiple moves against the bad guys? A suplex, a dropkick, maybe a flying elbow of some kind? As for the whole integrity thing, it starts to go away at the end when the Miz starts to smile. I think it’s best for everyone if the Miz doesn’t do that when he’s supposed to be the hero. If he ever gets to play a bad guy in a movie, let him smile all he wants. But if he’s the hero, tell him to never do that. It just looks and plays wrong. If the Miz stars in another The Marine movie, it will be interesting to see what sort of job he has in that one. A cook in a restaurant? A school teacher? Mall security? Since trouble seems to find Carter no matter where he goes, is he insurable? Would any company or city be willing to hire him for something?

Anna Van Hooft does a good job as Zoe, Carter’s fellow paramedic. She has decent friend chemistry with the Miz, and she comes off as resourceful in a crisis, which is what you want in a paramedic. Yes, she does engage in some questionable judgement at one point when the Lost Legion shows up, but, really, if a psycho biker gang was coming after you I think you’d freak out, too. It’s pretty messed up what happens to her. As for Nathan Mitchell, who plays Cole, the guy Carter and Zoe protect, he does a good job laying on the ground and bleeding. That seems like a shot at Mitchell’s performance, but it isn’t. It’s hard to not do much on screen and still remain interesting. I’m still sort of surprised that he didn’t bleed out while stuck in the garage.

TheMarine5BoDallas

Bo Dallas is freaking amazing as Alonzo. He just seethes malevolence and is exactly the kind of bad guy you want to see a hero like Carter take out. If he decides to stop doing the whole “Miztourage” thing and the pro wrestling thing Dallas could have a future as an actor. He could easily slip into another bad guy role, and, personally, I think he would kick ass as a Joker type psycho. Perhaps there’s a low budget horror slasher villain in his future? If there isn’t, goddamit, there should be. Dallas really is that good.

Curtis Axel is also amazing as Lost Legion member Deacon. He looks good on camera, knows how to wield a sawed off double barrel shotgun, and has a terrific screen presence. If Axel wants to be an action star, I think he would do quite well for himself. Unlike Dallas, I think Axel could do well either as a good guy or as a bad guy. I think he has that “it” factor.

TheMarine5Naomi

Naomi also has that “it” factor going for her. As Murphy, she’s a badass female biker who will mess you up if you start giving her shit. At first, she doesn’t seem all that tough and badass, but once she takes out a knife and comes at you watch the hell out. At the moment Naomi is the Smackdown! Women’s Champion and is at the top of her game in the squared circle. Much like Dallas and Axel, if Naomi wants to be an actor, she could do it and kick ass at it. Just watch that knife fighting scene. Tremendous stuff. Naomi is also gorgeous as hell. That never hurts.

Heather Slater doesn’t have much of a part as Lost Legion member Cash, but he does a good job with what he’s allowed to do. You may end up confusing him with Sandy Robson’s Vincent as they look very similar, but that similarity actually makes sense. And Robson is insane as Vincent. The man knows how to swear.

I have no idea why the Miz’s wife, Maryse, is in this movie. She’s in one scene, Carter rescues her, and then she dies from her injuries. Her part could have been played by anyone. She adds some name value to the cast, sure, but, again, why not have her play a cop or a biker or literally anyone else? Why have her play a car accident victim that dies almost immediately? Her leg wounds are exceptionally disgusting, so that’s cool.

The Marine 5: Battleground is the best of “The Miz Trilogy” and a great overall action movie to boot. A great cast, a great setting, and terrific action. You can’t ask for much more than that.

See The Marine 5: Battleground. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Less than 20 but not much less than 20.

Explosions: One, which is the least of any in The Marine franchise to date.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: Motorcycle riding, biker bar hooey, some very gross kissing, beer drinking, a drive-by shooting, automatic handgun hooey, a bad car accident, a heroic rescue, graphic leg wounds, defibrillator hooey, an argument, a scary as hell parking garage, wound fixing, a broken rear-view mirror, dead body leaving, sawed off double barrel shotgun hooey, more automatic handgun hooey, running, cell phone tower destruction, a knife attack, knife to the gut, window breaking, radio shooting, a still very blood wound, light breaking, picture taking, a wicked bullet to the head, an attitude adjustment, testicle punching, a head-butt, attempted axe attack, needle to the back of the neck, axe to the side, a bevy of guns, an impromptu blood donation, hot wiring an elevator, knife breaking, a wicked fight on top of an elevator, foot shooting, a major head shot (gun under the chin with an exploding top of the head), a haunted house ride, neck breaking, major machine gun attack, menacing, a major stabbing, exploding gas barrel, an ambulance chase, a hanging, a building under construction, a knife vs crowbar fight, major wall destruction, face punching, a wicked kick to the side of the face, crowbar to the leg, throwing a guy off a roof, and an old picture.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Bo Dallas, Bo Dallas a psycho biker asshole, Naomi, Heath Slater, Curtis Axel, a guy that looks like Heath Slater but isn’t Heath Slater, The Miz, Maryse for some reason, an amusement park, a too tall garage entrance, walking with small flashlights, a moody parking garage, a universal tool, a haunted house ride, an ambulance chase, a building under construction, and an old picture.

Best lines: “Hey, prospect, what’s up, boo?,” “Can you tell me what was going through your head back there?,” “The place is like a ghost town,” “Why did someone drive down here with a heart attack?,” “No cops. Please,” “Let’s check the theme park!,” “What the hell is an ambulance doing here?,” “You okay? Okay? Just get us the hell out of here!,” “What the hell you doing?,” “Why are these guys after you?,” “They’re not going anywhere, are they?,” “And the good Lord said let there be light!,” “Hey! I’ll work this out!,” “You know I can hear you,” “Don’t do it! Don’t!,” “Is it worth dying for?,” “No one’s coming to save your ass now. You sure about that?,” “How about I blast your bitch partner and then cut you up for my dog?,” “There ain’t no ink on that body,” “Where the fuck is he?,” “All right, jarhead. Your round,” “Did you really think we’d just walk away, jarhead?,” “You don’t know what you just started,” “Outta bullets, huh? I’ve got lots of bullets,” “The axe man cometh!,” “Thanks for the help. Thanks for the morphine,” “Someone was lying about having lots of ammo, weren’t they?,” “One floor. Figures,” “You’re a Marine? Yes, sir. No wonder you’re such a badass,” “For the Legion!,” “Come on, boys, time to earn those patches!,” “He dies tonight!,” “Fucking haunted houses,” “Gunner? Yeah, this is Gunner. I’m dead. Jarhead has killed me and he’s taken all of my guns,” “He’s here somewhere,” “You’re finished, asshole!,” “Put that dog down,” “Tonight we’re going to have ourselves a little barbecue,” “Move!,” “Use the strap! Choke him out!,” “You want him? You’ll have to go through me,” “You’re a paramedic! It’s your job to do what’s right!,” “I’m gonna kill you like I killed your bitch partner!,” and “Hey, Carter, thanks for keeping me alive. Just doing my job.”

Rating: 7.5/10.0

**

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!

Please check out and “like” The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page, which is here. There’s stuff there now! Midnight trailers! 3 AM Joe Bob! And more!

TheMarine5NaomiTheMiz

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page! Yeah!

**

The Marine Movies Ranked

Because, when you do a full on franchise marathon you need to rank them when you’re done reviewing them.

TheMarine2Joe

The Marine 2
The Marine 5: Battleground
The Marine (tied)
The Marine 4: Moving Target (tied)
The Marine 3: Homefront

**

Things to Watch Out For This Week

TheEvilInUs

The Evil in Us: This is apparently some sort of low budget horror flick from the fine folks at RLJ Entertainment. It’s about a bunch of young people who go to hang out on an island on the 4th of July, take a drug of some kind, and end up transforming into zombies. Or something like that. The movie looks decent enough and seems to bring the nasty, which is what you want with a modern zombie movie (or any kind of zombie movie, really). Although, isn’t it about time people stop going to secluded islands for big ass parties? It never ends well for anyone. When will people goddamn learn?

TheBasement

The Basement: Speaking of people who don’t learn a goddamn thing, this low budget horror flick, from the fine folks at Breaking Glass Pictures, is all about students hanging out in an abandoned building of some kind, having a party and a big séance that then brings forth a killer entity with a weird face. You can see the monster in the trailer below. That mask is pretty goddamn freaky. Stay out of the basement, people! No good can come of it!

OperationDunkirk

Operation: Dunkirk: This low budget war movie is from the fine folks at The Asylum and is its version of the excellent Christopher Nolan World War II movie. What’s odd about this The Asylum production is that it doesn’t feature weird monsters and creatures. A straight up war movie from the people who brought us the Sharknado franchise? Seems like a bit of a missed opportunity to me. The god guys need to rescue a scientist from the Nazis? Is the scientist creating zombie soldiers? It should be. Rentable, just to see if it works.

KillingHasselhoff

Killing Hasselhoff: This appears to be a kind of parody comedy/send up of celebrity culture, with the great David Hasselhoff at the center of the story. Ken Jeong and Jim Jeffries are, I guess, the heroes. The movie looks ridiculous, but then that’s how it’s supposed to be. It also looks like it has tons of celebrity cameos from people like Jon Lovitz, Will Sasso, Michael Winslow, Rick Fox, Ron Funches, Dan Bakkedahl (a Legit reunion!), and a few others (the Iron Sheik also apparently appears in some capacity). I have a feeling that this movie is either going to be a laugh riot or a complete failure. I’m hoping it works. Rent it first, though. That seems to be the prudent thing to do.

**

B-Movie News

VictorCrowley

There’s another Hatchet movie? And it’s called Victor Crowley?: Yes, that would seem to be the case. At a recent 10th anniversary screening of the first Hatchet movie, franchise creator Adam Green revealed his fourth Crowley movie, which is set t serve as a sequel and a kind of franchise reboot, and that it was made in secret over 2 years. Green’s last movie, the awesome fake documentary Digging Up the Marrow, was made under similar circumstances, but making that movie in secret makes sense. How the hell do you make a bloody as hell slasher movie, the fourth in a popular franchise, without anyone knowing about it?

Victor Crowley features the return of Kane Hodder as the monster and Perry Shen as Andrew Yong, the only guy to survive Crowley’s bloody rampage. The movie takes place ten years after the first movie and has Shen’s Yong doing a book tour promoting the book he wrote about the Crowley legend and the swap and whatnot. Tiffany Shepis and Felissa Rose appear to be in the movie, alongside Laura Ortiz, Dave Sheridan, and Brian Quinn.

I’m not sure how I feel about this movie. The first two Hatchet movies were pretty good (check out my review of part 1 here and part 2 here) but the third one was mean-spirited garbage (my review of that movie is here). A fourth Hatchet was sort of inevitable, but is the movie worth it? Can this fourth entry make Victor Crowley interesting again?

I mean, that was the biggest problem with the third one. Crowley was a bore, just a big monster out in the swamp killing people. There were so many gore and death scenes that they all just ran together. The whole movie felt meaningless. So what happens in this fourth one that brings the franchise back to being entertaining?

I don’t know. This fourth movie is set to appear as part of something called the “Victor Crowley Roadshow” where Green will take the movie around the country for one night only showings. A schedule for this roadshow hasn’t been released as of yet, but it is set to start in October.

Here’s to hoping that Victor Crowley is actually good. The world doesn’t need more terrible slasher movies. The world has more than enough of those.

So where the heck is the next season of Holliston?

**

The Big Question: Who should be the next The Marine?

The Miz has starred in three The Marine movies, the most of the three pro wrestlers who have starred in the franchise to date. In the event that the Miz doesn’t do another The Marine sequel, who should be next in line for a potential The Marine 6? Here are my suggestions for who could be next in line.

CurtisAxel

Curtis Axel: He kicked ass as Deacon the biker henchmen in The Marine 5: Battleground and showed that he could be an action star if he wanted to go that route. He isn’t as big of a star in pro wrestling as the Miz or John Cena, but the best of the franchise was mid-carder Ted DiBiase, Jr., so why not give Axel the nod and a shot at being the star in a low budget action flick? I’d pay to see it.

JasonJordan

Jason Jordan: The recently revealed “son” of WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle is a tremendous athlete in the ring and seems to have the necessary charisma to be a movie star. It would be interesting to see what he could do fighting terrorists or whatnot hand-to-hand, and how about this for a movie? Why not have his “father” Kurt Angle as the villain? Angle has done the villain thing in in low budget cinema before. Why not have him play a psycho in a WWE Studios production? Against his “son?” It could work. It really could.

SheltonBenjamin

Shelton Benjamin: Benjamin recently returned to the WWE after several years away performing in Ring of Honor and New Japan and whatnot. Benjamin is an amazing athlete and I think it would be a hoot to see him fight off heavily armed bad guys. I have no idea if he wants to star in a movie (he’s always seemed like a guy who just wants to wrestle because that’s who he is and what he wants to do), but, if the WWE offers him the chance to star in The Marine 6, I think he should take it and see what happens.

NaomiChamp

Naomi: Much like Axel, Naomi rocks hard in The Marine 5: Battleground and would be my first choice in the event that the WWE wants to do a female lead The Marine. She has the screen presence, charisma, fighting ability, and she’s gorgeous. She is the total package. So why not Naomi?

BayleyCharlotte

Bayley or Charlotte: If the Naomi thing doesn’t work out, but the WWE still wants to do a female The Marine, Bayley and Charlotte should definitely be in the running. Bayley has that natural, goofy charisma that could work if her Marine was a sort of aw, shucks girl who knows to kill lots and lots of bad guys in the event she has to. And Charlotte, while a terrific bad guy in the ring, has a sweetness that could make you root for her if she had to be called into service to save a kidnapped child from a band of terrorists or some such.

So what do you guys think? Who would you pick to be the next The Marine? Do you agree with my choices? Disagree? Did I miss anyone?

**
Oorah

**

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

**

Next Issue: Scanners September begins with Scanners!

**

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

**

Follow me on Twitter!

**

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 5: Battleground

Mike “The Miz” Mizanin– Jake Carter
Anna Van Hooft– Zoe Williams
Bo Dallas– Alonzo
Curtis Axel– Deacon
Naomi– Murphy
Heath Slater– Cash
Sandy Robson– Vincent
Nathan Mitchell– Cole
Maryse Mizanin– Ana

Directed by James Nunn
Screenplay Edward McHenry and Rory McHenry, based on characters created by Scott Wiper and Declan O’Brien

Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Rated R for violence and language
Runtime- 91 minutes

Buy it here

Buy it here