At Odds with Wrestling Homework – The Marine 5: Battleground

We are here once again to celebrate the greatest thespian of our times, Mike “the Miz” Mizanin. Each and every week without a major wrestling event (which means there won’t be any homework in two weeks due to WWE Backlash) the hosts of the At Odds with Wrestling podcast assign each other wrestling related viewings to discuss in depth on their Patreon show. I started watching along and now I’m stuck here giving my own thoughts about the good and bad things we’ve watched over the years. This week we watched the fifth Marine film, but the third one starring the Miz. Also starring fellow WWE Superstars Maryse, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Heath Slater, and Naomi. There is a lot going on here, and honestly as the series continues we see the Miz’s character of Jake Carter grow. Grow into what exactly? I’m not sure yet. Maybe that will come to light as we all take a deep dive into a film franchise that never asked for one. 

We have two stories which converge within the first 15 minutes and then it’s all action from there out. The movie opens with a prolonged bike ride while all the credits appear. Bo Dallas, Heath Slater, Curtis Axel, and Naomi are all bikers who work and/or hang out at a dive bar/clubhouse. They’re all celebrating and waiting for their leader to show up. Bo thinks he should be next in charge and is trying to run the show in their leader’s absence. The actual second (Vincent) blows him off and they’re all having lots of fun. 

There’s a pick up truck outside and the two men are waiting for someone to show up. Eventually the biker gang (the Lost Legion) leader shows up. One of the men in the truck opens fire and the other one drives away. The bikers all come pouring out. They fire at the truck, hitting both men but not mortally (yet). All of the bikers leave the bar and give chase, canvassing the city for the truck they just shot up. 

Meanwhile the Miz is on his first day as an EMT (damn this man has bad first days). He and his more experienced partner, Zoe, show up at their first call. A woman (played by Maryse) was sitting in her parked car when some concrete bricks fell, crushing the front and her legs. The rest of the bricks are going to break loose from their confines at any time and the fire truck en route may be too late. Miz goes all MacGuyver and grabs a car jack from a nearby police car. He jumps into the back of Maryse’s car and wedges the car jack under the crushed steering column to free her legs. Miz rescues her just in time as the rest of the bricks fall, however Maryse goes into shock and has lost too much blood. Miz refuses to give up but his partner Zoe calls the death. 

Miz and Zoe are driving and she questions his actions. She’s aware of his background, and we get a bit of a refresher on his pre-Marine 3 life and his security detail in Marine 4, but nothing on stopping eco-terrorists in Marine 3. The movie is putting Miz into a situation and not worrying about the continuity, but it is interesting. His hometown in Marine 3 and the forest of Marine 4 were in the middle of nowhere. I’m guessing private security wasn’t really his preferred job. Now Miz has spent however many months or years depending on how much experience he already had in the Marines, training to be an EMT. There could have been some good plot points here, an opportunity for some dialogue to really flesh out Miz and Zoe. He served how ever many tours and he’s been wrapped up taking down bad guys twice. Now he wants to save lives as an EMT instead of taking them. Even doing crazy things like putting himself in danger to save Maryse could have been explained. He can’t believe he survived the previous two movies and he’s already made his peace with God. Every day feels like borrowed time thus he’s willing to risk his own life to save another. Seriously, this is maybe five more minutes of movie and would have improved both characters immensely. Zoe could have told some of her own background and given us a reason to care. Between Miz’s sisters, the whistleblower, and his EMT partner, I think Zoe is the cutest female lead so far and could have added more to Miz’s character and the movie. More on that later though. 

The pickup hitmen from earlier are looking for somewhere to hide. They crash through a flimsy excuse for a gate covering the entrance to the parking garage for the local amusement park. I am going to guess this is Playland which is a park in Vancouver, British Columbia which is where this movie was filmed. There are water parks in the area but Playland attractions look similar to ones seen in the movie. Which also means Miz is now living or at least commuting to a larger city. Again, some exposition would be nice. He wanted to get away from the scenes of two violent battles. He wants to help. He, like Bo Dallas’s brother, is torn between Hurt and Heal. Anyways, this is a good size park and a ridiculously big parking garage. If I recall, at least 6 levels down. Why didn’t they just buy some swampland, say they parked in the Itchy lot, and call it a day? The truck crashes into the parking garage and they call 911 for a heart attack. Not a gunshot, because then the police would come as well. Miz tells dispatch they’ll take the call because he wants Zoe to get off his back earlier. They pull up to the garage and the clearance is too low for the ambulance, so they have to find who called for a heart attack on foot. Down the multiple levels they go. At some point they realize that they’re too far underground to get cell service. So when did the shooters call? Did they call from up top and then drive down lower? It doesn’t really matter but it does stick out. Miz and Zoe are about to give up when they finally hear the truck engine still running. They find the shooter in the passenger seat, already dead. Then they wander until they find the driver. He’s bleeding out and scared. Miz kicks his gun away and they get him stabilized. Miz knows this isn’t a heart attack or a drive by. They were targeted, and wants answers. Miz and Zoe are going to get the driver (Cole) out of there. Miz decides to run back through the parking garage to get the gurney so they can wheel Cole back up to the ambulance. When Miz reaches street level he sees part of the motorcycle gang. Coincidentally the ones played by fellow WWE Superstars. The gang is riding all over this city trying to find the truck they shot at. We’re only seeing the group that matters for this part of the story but it makes sense that there are multiple groups checking every park, mall, factory, and whatever else is in this town. Also, the movie makes it clear that the park is closed for the season and will reopen soon; however I don’t know that I would plan a family trip to a park in a city that also has a violent motorcycle club. Maybe they have some sort of deal with the local police. You stay in your area, away from tourism, and we won’t bother you. Miz sees the bikers and rushes back downstairs to get Zoe and Cole away from the trouble. 

A giant cat and mouse game takes place. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel walk and ride through the garage to find Miz and crew. Naomi stays up stairs and guards the door. Miz, Zoe, and Cole find various hiding places. Team Miz drives the pick up truck to try to get away. There are lots of gunshots that hit nothing. Zoe and Cole hide again and Miz has to get the EMT pack. This is when Naomi finds him and the two have a brief fight. Shockingly, this fight ends with Miz stabbing Naomi with her own knife and she dies on the spot. 

It’s time to discuss the use of cell phones here. Miz and Zoe can’t call out from deep within the parking garage because the concrete and depth are blocking the signal. Alright, I’m willing to give them that. Any time a character gets up to ground level they try the phone again. Bo and Curtis decide to take out the nearest cell tower. If this city is big enough for this size theme park and parking garage then it is also within reason to assume there is more than one cell tower in the area. Satellites are a thing. WiFi and roaming and I’m sure there are other terms I’m forgetting would allow calls to still be made. Calls which are still made later in the movie. Miz in the finale calls 911, and I can’t imagine he got too far away from the park in what he’s driving at the time. There is the cell phone problem in movies and TV. Anything taking place in the present day that could be solved by a quick call or text needs an explanation. Everyone forgot their phones, or the batteries died, or it took place years ago yet all the clothes are current. Something. Any quick line to explain it away and then no one thinks too hard about this. Really not a big deal but taking out the cell tower draws more attention to this than it solves.

Now in the previous movie I mentioned that when Summer Rae is killed the death is due to her fellow bad guy. Miz is holding her, but it is someone else who opens fire and kills her. I thought this might be to keep Miz from crossing a certain line. Granted, I don’t know that chivalry still counts when it’s life and death, but I was assuming Miz’s character wouldn’t be allowed to do such things and yet here it is, the first of his kills in the movie. 

I’m going to jump around a bit here because it’s that type of movie. Bo Dallas as on site leader tells Miz to give up the shooter and they’ll leave him be. They also have Zoe as a hostage. In fact, they made Zoe call dispatch because if EMTs don’t check in after a certain amount of time, police will be sent to check on them. The bikers wanted to avoid a police presence at the closed amusement park, more on that soon, so they have her make the call. Miz comes up with a brilliant plan to give the bikers the body of the deceased gunman while hiding Cole. Here’s a body, see you later. Bo and Curtis see the body, take pictures to confirm the death, and leave. Zoe gives Miz a cute look about getting her out of the zip ties that are restraining her. The movie isn’t over yet but I was sure there was about to be a time jump. Maybe Miz finally gets some down time with a lady. My favorite lady in the franchise thus far too. All seems like it will be okay until I’m guessing morning when part 2 of this battle happens. Nope! Bo turns around and just fucking shoots her in the head. I jumped. Granted, it’s CGI bullets and brains but still effective. Did not see that coming at all. If anything I was expecting Cole to die soon then Miz teaches Zoe how to kill people much like he did with Olivia in the previous film. Nope. Shoots her dead and they take off. Bo and Curtis get up top where the rest of the biker gang has arrived. Vincent, formerly second in command, now I guess first, informs Bo that this isn’t over because there were two people in the truck. He checked the security cameras! This dive bar has a weapons arsenal and CCTV set up? From the outside it doesn’t look like it has working plumbing. The bikers are going after Miz to find Cole but they’ve pissed off the wrong Marine. His partner is dead, he’s trying to keep a criminal alive – a lesser degree criminal sure, but still. All his fucks are gone. Well, almost all. Miz is now down to two thoughts. Kill all the bad guys and keep Cole alive. This is absurd and almost comical. Every 5 minutes there’s another problem. If movie serials still existed the Marine franchise would make a great one. 

The bikers turn on the power for the parking garage and apparently some but not all of the park fuses are on the same grid. Miz kills Curtis, another guy in a random kitchen type room (in a garage?) and his fourth kill on top of the elevator. All while not only keeping Cole alive, but also doing an emergency blood transfusion using what materials he has on hand. Miz slips in one sentence that he’s O positive blood and at least that line is there for clarification. Miz and Cole use the elevators to escape the parking garage while the bikers have to run up the stairs or drive back up top, thus Miz and Cole have a slight lead on them. 

The lead isn’t enough though. The two get separated. Miz is trying to create a distraction, allowing Cole to escape on the opposite end of the park. Miz turns on all the ride lights and a theme park without anyone in it is creepy. Does anyone remember the 80’s movie the New Kids? Thriller revenge plot with a finale in an amusement park. I’ve been meaning to rewatch that for at least 5 years. Maybe I’ll get to that soon. Anyways, now the park is in motion and Bo Dallas is very confused. He then gets the idea that if everyone is headed one way maybe he should go in the other direction. Bo catches Cole and detains him. Miz is in a shootout and falls through a ride, thus leading Heath Slater to think Miz is dead. Bo brings Cole out to tell who hired him and Cole recognizes Vincent. Turns out this was an inside hit all along. Vincent says their former leader was weak and he’ll bring the Legion back to glory. Bo stabs him and Vincent’s brother Heath finishes the job. Best to keep it in the family. Despite all of this they’re still going to kill Cole. As they prepare their wares they hear sirens. Not the sirens I expected. No, the Miz has made his way back to the ambulance and is driving it in to rescue Cole. 

Side note here, what I expected was scores and scores of police finally showing up. I can forgive the initial call to EMT dispatch. I can believe that gunshots deep in a parking garage weren’t heard on city streets. However now there are multiple vehicles, gunshots, and a closed amusement park lit up and running. Someone should be investigating. At the very least the owner of the park should wonder who the hell is operating it and send their own private security or the actual police to see what’s going on. Miz shoots out from the back of the ambulance and gives Cole cover to get inside. Heath runs after them and makes it in the back, trying to kill Cole. Cole asks Miz for some Marine-shit help and Miz tells him to wrap one of the belts around Heath’s neck. Cole tells Miz to take a fast sharp turn and this momentum snaps Heath’s neck. Hey, the Miz taught someone else how to kill! Again! The ambulance stops working at some nearby office type buildings that are still being constructed, but haven’t locked the doors. Miz and Cole do their best Obi-Wan and try to claim the high ground. Bo shows up looking for them. Cole makes noise allowing Bo to find them. Miz and Bo somehow still have rounds and keep firing. Sure they have extra clips but seriously, how many? 

Miz tries to cover for Cole to escape and has a brutal fight with Bo. Seriously, knives and crowbars flying around. They crash through drywall. But the end where Bo just keeps punching Miz in the face gets disgusting. Miz looks to be finished. Bo leaves Miz for dead and chases after Cole. He’s out on a balcony area just trying to survive. Bo threatens Cole in many ways but ultimately, he’s going to throw Cole off and to the ground. When all seems lost, the Miz appears and asks if Bo wants to know how he got these scars. Seriously, this is prime Heath Ledger inspired Joker blood splatter. Miz gets in a shot with the crowbar and cuts open Bo’s artery. He’s going to bleed out quickly. Bo prays/preys upon Miz’s better nature and reminds Miz he’s not just a Marine he’s also an EMT and he’s supposed to save people. Miz uses his belt as a quick tourniquet so Bo doesn’t bleed out and Bo returns the favor by trying to attack Miz with yet another knife. EMT vows are gone and Miz fights with Bo once more, tossing him off the top and Bo lands on top of the ambulance. Definitely dead, but at least his leg stopped bleeding. 

Miz and Cole are now on the ground being treated. There are emergency vehicles everywhere. Another EMT tells Miz that his makeshift transfusion saved Cole’s life. Good thing too because he’s going back to jail. Miz spent all movie saving his life and leaves it off with “but you’re going back to jail”. Miz walks away as the end credits start. 

How the hell is he walking away?! I mean this in two ways. One, he’s been beaten severely over the course of the day. There are wounds, breaks, probably a concussion. Miz should also be going to a hospital. Not just walking away. Where is he walking to? Is he walking all the way home? Is the garage for the ambulances close by and he parked his car there? He’s still covered in bloody clothes, a massive shooting has taken place, maybe not a good look to walk down Main St in soiled clothes. Also, no one wants to talk to the Miz? Get a statement? Maybe investigate all of these dead bodies and if he should face any charges? No? We’re just going to let him walk away? What state does this take place in? 

Finally, look at the smile on Miz’s face as he walks away. His partner is dead. Many people are dead. His, I can’t even say friend, Cole is going back to jail. I can’t imagine Miz is allowed to be an EMT again. He probably broke many rules and regulations along the way. None of it seems to matter. He got to kill again. This is his third massacre in a short amount of time. Best case scenario let’s say less than a decade. Probably around five years. Sure it’s all justified and he can explain his decisions. I’m not even arguing with his decisions. But where is any sense of remorse, gravity, loss, even a bit of PTSD? I’ll wait until we watch the sixth and final movie in a few weeks but Jake Carter is becoming a Punisher-esque type character. Not the villain, but really not the hero either.

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