The Marine Movies Ranked From Worst To Best

"The Marine" is an interesting little franchise. Featuring six movies with three different leading men, the series has become something of a flagship for WWE Studios. That, however, doesn't necessarily mean the movies have had a clear structure from the very beginning. Originally "The Marine" was set to star "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, with Al Pacino of all people playing opposite him as the villain. When that fell through, Randy Orton was pegged as the lead role, but eventually they settled on a young John Cena to lead the first movie. This was far from the successful Hollywood leading man everybody knows and loves today, this was a young John Cena in his first movie role. In recent years, Cena has criticized "The Marine" (and most of his early movies), implying it was so generic and telling Entertainment Weekly that "It might as well have come in a white box that said 'Movie' on the side."


John Cena would lead the first "The Marine" movie with Ted DiBiase leading the second and then Mike "The Miz" Mizanin leading the remaining four. While John Cena doesn't seem to think "The Marine" is very good, how does it rank with its five sequels? The movies are generally seen as a laughing stock even among wrestling fans — CM Punk used to openly mocked WWE Studios on WWE TV and even original lead Austin said he didn't like the script.

Are all "The Marine" movies as bad as their reputation?

6. The Marine 2

"The Marine 2" stars Ted DiBiase in his first (and so far only) acting role. DiBiase's inexperience definitely shows — for a character that is supposed to be a Marine trained killing machine hell bent of saving his wife from dangerous terrorists, he is far too soft spoken and polite. Whenever DiBiase is asked to portray any real emotion, he falls very short and is completely wooden across the board. He is by far the worst part of this movie.


On the other hand, by straight to DVD movie standards, there is a lot to like about "The Marine 2." The movie is competently made by experienced director Roel Reine and there are some relatively big names rounding out the cast. Temuera Morrison of "Star Wars" fame is very good as the lead villain of the piece, and Michael Rooker turns in a charming performance as Ted DiBiase's father figure.

The plot of the movie is based on real life events, taking inspiration from the 2001 Dos Palmas kidnappings. The movie does benefit from a more grounded style compared to some of the other movies in the series, but unfortunately all of the failures of the film do fall on its leading man. With a more compelling lead, "The Marine 2" would be much higher ranked, but as it stands now, it is unfortunately the worst of "The Marine" franchise.


5. The Marine 4: Moving Target

After "The Marine 3: Homefront" was surprisingly well received, many fans were excited that a sequel would continue to the renewed success of the franchise, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

"The Marine 4: Moving Target" is very boring, which, despite their faults, cannot be said of the other movies in the franchise. The premise of the movie is highly unoriginal, as Miz's character Jake Carter is tasked with protecting a whistle-blower trying to expose corruption in the military. The stakes are severely lacking and action is just basic. The worst part of the movie is definitely the characters, with almost every single person in this movie being extremely annoying, especially the whistle-blower character played by Melissa Roxburgh.


Without a charismatic villain like Temuera Morrison, the movie severely lags throughout. There are twice as many villains in this one compared to all other entries in the franchise, but none of them are engaging or very interesting. The Miz does the best he can with the script, but with little character development or personal journey, this is probably his worst performance in the role, with him just looking lost most of the time. Bizarrely, fellow WWE Superstar Summer Rae was heavily focused in the promotion of the movie, leading many to believe she would have a big role, but she does very little for the entire movie and barely has any lines.

4. The Marine 5: Battleground

"The Marine 5: Battleground" has the most WWE Superstars of all the movies in this franchise, as The Miz shares the screen with Naomi, Maryse, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, and Heath Slater. Do more WWE Superstars make for a better movie? Well, debatable, but this is definitely a better showing for the franchise. Naomi, Maryse, Dallas, Axel and Slater all playing villainous bikers opposing The Miz and they actually pull in good performances. Dallas in particular is surprisingly good as a chewing the scenery villain.


The movie has a boring setting, though, with most of the action taking place in a parking garage, but the action whizzes along nicely. The plot is much more interesting with The Miz's Jake Carter protecting a person of interest from the biker gang. The movie has a much faster pace and delivers some unexpected twists which makes this instalment one of the more suspenseful outings in the series.

Strangely, Maryse is credited second in the running order but is barely in the movie — it seems like it pays to be married to the star. Speaking of The Miz, he gives a charismatic performance, and in his third starring role at this point, he grows more and more believable as the action lead of the franchise.


3. The Marine

"The Marine" is John Cena's first acting role and it definitely shows. While he is now a successful leading man, back then he definitely wasn't and Cena — as marine John Triton offers a pretty wooden display. Even back then, however, John Cena is much better than Ted DiBiase was.


Lead villain of the piece is Robert Patrick of "Terminator" fame as Rome, and he gives a confident performance even if he is hamstrung by a basic script. Robert Patrick's character kidnaps John Triton's wife, leading Triton to purse the criminals and save his wife in a formulaic, by-the-numbers plot. Nobody has any real depth and every single character is one dimensional. The action in the movie, however, is pretty good, if wildly unrealistic. While one probably shouldn't be looking for realism in this franchise, Cena may as well be wearing a Superman outfit throughout this movie with the amount of times he escapes certain death.

It shows that "The Marine" has the biggest budget of all six movies, as the action set pieces are very impressive, which are quite enjoyable if one remembers to turn their brains off. The movie is an easy digestible and fun popcorn flick. If that was all it was ever supposed to be, then "The Marine" could be considered a success.


2. The Marine 6: Close Quarters

"The Marine 6: Close Quarters" is the final movie of the franchise, and two more WWE Superstars star alongside The Miz. Becky Lynch features as the villain of the piece and she delivers a gripping performance. She portrays a worthy enemy for the final film — the twist ending with her character and The Miz is genuinely a great moment that nobody will expect. Interestingly, Lynch credits this movie, as well as talks with co-star Shawn Michaels, as being the basis of her "The Man" character.


Shawn Michaels also stars in the movie as an old friend of Jake Carter. As this is the final movie in the series, it almost seems like it is setting up a spin off for HBK's Luke Trapper, but nothing like that has come to fruition as of yet. Michaels puts in a great performance as a world weary marine, and his chemistry with The Miz is very good. The action in this one is decent and it is much different than the others — as the movie title suggests, its a lot of hand-to-hand close combat rather than the over the top explosions of previous outings, and the movie definitely benefits from it.

1. The Marine 3: Homefront

When it was announced that The Miz of all people was going to be the guy to lead "The Marine" franchise, a lot of fans were very skeptical. Miz is a lot of things, but he does not scream "military man." Before The Miz was selected, Randy Orton was thought of to be the guy to take over the franchise, but a real life military dishonorable discharge made that impossible. Others were also in consideration but eventually, The Miz was chosen to be "The Marine."


And, amazingly, he was great.

To the surprise of many, The Miz was excellent in his first outing in "The Marine 3: Homefront." His acting ability in the movie dwarfs what John Cena and Ted DiBiase were doing in their movies, and Jake Carter is a more well-rounded, believable character because of it. This movie offers a better, more genuine story, the action is grittier, and the villain of the piece — a would-be extremist played by Neal McDonough — is simply excellent. McDonough was able to craft a memorable, three-dimensional villain in what is essentially a throwaway action flick, and it is amazing to watch. With the performances of The Miz and Neal McDonough, this makes "The Marine 3: Homefront" by far the best of "The Marine" franchise.