The Marine 4: Moving Target (2015)

It’s a welcome return to the ISCFC for William Kaufman, the action director who we’ve already seen with “One In The Chamber” and “Daylight’s End”. He’s got the rare gift of turning a low budget into a lot of action, and such is the case here. Hold on! Keep reading! I’ve got a B-movie conundrum to pose!

That conundrum is thus. Let’s say you’re at an airport picking up an important witness to a case against a powerful private military contractor. You load everyone up into a few SUVs, and off you go. Which route do you take?

A) Nice busy highways

or

B) Empty roads surrounded by trees on both sides, where there are no witnesses, no-one to help and it’s super-easy to ambush you?

I presumably don’t need to tell you which answer this movie gives you. Anyway, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin returns as Sgt Jake Carter from part 3, but no-one else does – his sisters and their respective partners are a distant memory. He’s just got himself a job in private security, and his first day is picking up the aforementioned witness, one Olivia Tanis (Melissa Roxburgh, making her second appearance in a WWE movie, after the truly miserable “Leprechaun: Origins”). She worked in tech support, or something, for the bad guys, and has a stack o’ evidence about their bad dealings. She’s been in hiding in Hong Kong for some time, but she’s decided she wants to help bring them to justice.

So, there’s a good guy who turns out to be a bad guy, a seemingly never-ending stream of goons for our hero to mow through, and lots of locations (hence the title), although honestly the second half of the movie takes place almost entirely in some woods, making this our most recent entrant in that most durable of all B-movie genres, “lots of people walk through the woods”. Jake and Olivia have no-one else to trust and must take on the might of the villains on their own – luckily, Jake has all that Marine training and knows his traps, close-quarters fighting and firearms.

There are a few decent set-pieces, mind you – the scene inside the safe house they go to, a decent car chase, and the scene where a police station gets shot to hell. But that brings up aother pesky conundrum. Let’s say you’re a private military contractor who wants to stop someone from testifying against you. Do you:

A) Try and make it look like an accident, or even just grab her so no-one knows what happened?

Or

B) Slaughter everyone at the police station she’s being held at, when the authorities know she’s there, pretty much guaranteeing you’ll never get another US government contract ever again?

There’s precious little plot, if we’re being honest, and very few characters. It’s an action delivery system, pure and simple, which puts a resourceful good guy against a very evil bad guy and a nice supply of goons, and just sits back and watches the sparks fly. Kaufman puts some fun directorial touches in there now and again, but you’re here to watch fights and explosions and chases, and this movie gives them to you in spades.

Mizanin is fine, again, although there’s much less humour in this one than the last – any laughs will be generated from how ludicrous and over the top it all is. He has a nice rapport with Roxburgh too. There’s another WWE star in this one, though, “diva” Summer Rae (real name Danielle Moinet), making her as-of-now only appearance in the movies. It feels like she was hired by sticking a pin into a list of female WWE stars, as she has almost nothing to do, getting maybe one line? Like it was sprung on her at the last minute and she couldn’t act worth a damn, so they relegated her to a background role. Which makes her appearance on the front cover of the DVD a little perplexing.

No surprises here. It’s solidly entertaining and requires no thought whatsoever. Part 5 brings us to 2017, and then we might do a few other WWE movies – if you have any pro-wrestler-starring recommendations, feel free to let me know.

Rating: thumbs in the middle

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