Review: ‘The Marine 6: Close Quarters’, WWE’s Action Franchise Heads Into Uncharted Territory

Y’know, I’ve taken a certain amount of pride in being one of the few national critics who makes it a point to review every single one of WWE’s The Marine movies. It is, for what it’s worth, their flagship franchise and while they have all been pretty terrible up to this point, I’d be lying if I said they didn’t hold a certain place in this critic’s cold heart. Led by the G.O.A.T. of the WWE, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, who has managed to only have his wife Maryse in one of his four outings, unexpectedly long-lived series takes a hard turn with The Marine 6: Close Quarters, and I don’t think people are going to be prepared for it. I know I wasn’t.

The Miz is back as ex-Marine now EMT Jake Carter, who has survived more shit post-military life than he ever could’ve seen while in uniform. This time Jake is teamed up with his former commanding officer, Luke Trapper, played by “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels while he still had some hair left on his head. Instantly, the whole dynamic is changed by giving Jake someone to banter with, and as anybody who has seen him on TV knows, the Miz and HBK are both better when they’ve got someone to jaw-jack with.  But the lighter mood is a ruse, because this is one grim friggin’ flick.

While checking in on a veteran who has been squatting in a rundown building, Jake and Luke stumble on an Irish crime gang, led by WWE’s resident lasskicker Becky Lynch, who have kidnapped the daughter of a juror to force him to decide in their favor on a trial. Being who they are, the two military dudes can’t just let it stand, and so they must fight to save the girl and save themselves.

It’s a typically barebones premise befitting of these knuckle-headed movies, but this one works better than others because of the performances by Miz, Michaels, and Lynch. In particular, Lynch seems to be bringing her current rebellious attitude to the role, and I could see WWE maybe pushing her in a separate series of movies all her own. Michaels seems to be having a ball, more than he has been in those lame faith-based flicks he’s occasionally popped up in. And together with Miz, they actually kick a lot of ass. To the betterment of director James Nunn, the action is mostly hand-to-hand which plays to his actors’ strengths. Previous films have relied too much on gunplay, including the atrocious predecessor which Nunn also took the camera for.

The violence is more brutal this time around, with hammers, blades, and worse coming into play. While that’s to be expected, the twists and turns this film takes are not. I don’t think anybody looks to The Marine 6 for shocking swerves but they go all-out and defy what years of action movie tropes have taught us. I was left floored by it, and honestly I don’t know where these movies go from here. The Miz may have finally hit his stride in this role right at the moment when it’s time for the franchise to go in a different direction. Whatever the WWE decides to do, The Marine 6 has me curious about what comes next, and that’s something I’ve never been able to say about these movies before.

Rating: 3 out of 5