Bad Movies Done Right — Mafia Wars and Marines

By the amount of requests I receive every day on Facebook to join my friends’ virtual Mafia Wars campaigns, I’m acquainted with quite a few budding criminals.

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To my pals waging online block wars with their pixilated Tommy guns, I offer a suggestion: in between virtual missions, don’t forget to take a break from video gaming.

Before anybody accuses me of promoting outside excursions, I want to define my definition of “taking a break.”

I’m not calling for a walk through the park or any interaction with “real girls”; I’m just advising you to put down your controller before you develop finger calluses so thick your hands look like a hobbit’s foot.

How do I recommend you take your non-bathroom related breaks?

Pop in a movie and bone up on your criminal knowledge.

Besides actually robbing a local liquor store or listening to a 50 Cent album, how else are you supposed to improve your thug skillz?

There are no 12-sided dice that will increase your criminal mastery like it developed your usage of arcane magic.

If there’s one thing I’ve gleamed from life, it’s that anything worth learning can be learned from movies — and that includes petty crime.

For example, you can rate the trustworthiness of your heist partners by their level of attractiveness. If you’re working with criminals that look like Brad Pitt or George Clooney, you’re bound to be part of a caper that will be as daring as it is delightful.

If your fellow thief looks like Steve Buscemi, he’s going to take the diamonds and shoot you in the gut.

Another helpful tip is to treat the hostage selection process like you’re picking your future wife — because chances are that during the getaway to Mexico, you and your hostage will fall in love.

Wouldn’t you rather have a romance blossom with a hostage that looks more like Kim Basinger then one that looks like Kathy Bates?

So, in between sending me all those undesired Mafia Wars requests, don’t forget to pick up a few crime movies that can help you become a better virtual delinquent. But don’t take too long picking your movies; those digital cars aren’t going to steal themselves.

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Bad Movie of the Week — The Marine 2

I must admit to having never seen The Marine.

In fact, the only exposure I have to the original WWE produced action film was a short half a minute clip I viewed this past Sunday as I flipped channels while getting ready to leave the house.

The Marine 2, or The Marine Too as I think it should have been called, thankfully doesn’t require you to have seen the original movie in order to understand the sequel’s plot. Enjoy it? Maybe.

In reality, the sequel has nothing to do with the original movie — as far as I can tell. The film follows a marine whose attempt at a little R & R with his wife is interrupted when a group of terrorist invades the sunny beach resort they are staying at.

Yes, it’s Die Hard at a Sandals resort.

Ted DiBiase Jr., a professional wrestler by day, plays Joe Linwood, the titular marine. Unlike Bruce Willis in Die Hard, though, DiBiase Jr. contains almost no charisma, charm or apparent acting chops.

In fact, he looks startlingly uncomfortable during every scene of the movie in which he is not bashing in the head of a terrorist — including love scenes.

Lara Cox, while a beauty and quite possibly a decent actress, is never given much to work with in her role as Ms. Linwood, professional damsel in distress.

Assisting the marine in his heroic escapades is Michael Rooker as Church, a former solder turned scuba guide. Rooker, as he is in most things, is entertaining and provides a solid performance — easily becoming the standout performance in The Marine 2.

Leading the band of evil terrorists is Temuera Morrison, who audiences probably know best from his role as Jengo Fett, Bobba’s father (and, I guess, Bobba himself … damn clones).

The movie features some pretty decent action sequences — especially considering the fact that it is a straight-to-DVD release.

An R rating means audience members can look forward to even more gruesome violence then was contained in the first film, which was rated PG-13.

What kind of gruesome violence, you ask? How do toasted limbs, shattered hands and harpoons through the gut sound to you?

Not your thing?

You can always sit back and enjoy the beautiful shots of the beaches of Phuket, Thailand where the film was shot.

The truth is, the movie is very stupid and very forgettable. Action clichés run rampant — almost as if the filmmakers were following a family recipe for making an action movie.

The actors in the film are wasted on a threadbare script and logic chooses to wait in the hotel room instead of coming out to play.

But acting and logic aren’t why you watch action movies, are they?

No, you want to see “purty” explosions and foreigners getting their comeuppance. Well, in those regards, The Marine 2 delivers in spades.

The Marine 2 looks great on Blu-ray — delivering crystal clear picture and sound. Special features (almost all of which are presented in 1080i) include extended and deleted scenes, feauturettes about the climatic fight scene, the terrorist siege, Ted DiBiase’s family of wrestlers and the admittedly cool looking Muay Thai fighting style utilized in the film.

If you enjoy professional wrestling, you will love The Marine 2.

The same shallow use of violence and grade school machismo adolescence is on full display.

In fact, I thought it was hilarious that the movie’s marine hero kept on fighting like a wrestler instead of an actual member of the military — preferring to use fighting moves both flashy and grandiose instead of stealthy.

I kept waiting for the marine to give Jengo Fett a piledriver.

Watching the movie, my biggest thought was of how glad I am that Marvel Studios has chosen to cast their movies with real actors and not wrestlers.

I remember when names like Triple H were being tossed around to play Thor, the God of Thunder.

Thank God that Marvel decided to go a different way — at least for now.

While Ted DiBiase Jr. may look like the comic book version of Captain America, if he gets cast as Steve Rogers I’m going to be so pissed.

Robert Saucedo may, in fact, be afraid that Ted DiBiase Jr. will kick his ass for this column so he will end by saying Ted has pretty eyes. Visit him on the web at www.robsaucedo.com.

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