Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Popcorn Love: Robert Patrick in The Marine (2006)

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on August 5, 2007

“Would somebody *please* shoot this guy?”

All right, so maybe The Marine wasn’t very good. Or, more importantly, it wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been–the commercials made it look like it was gonna be exactly like Commando, and featuring the starring debut of relatively awesome wrestler John Cena, it seemed like Arnie’s masterpiece could genuinely have a worthy successor. 80s action movies were being revived in just about every other variety, it was about time for the “one man takes on an entire militia/country to get back loved one” pic to see some new action. But Cena turned out to be kind of weak–no memorable one-liners, no particularly creative weapon choices, no moments of partciularly impressive badassery–nothing except the muscles, pretty much.

Of course, it didn’t help much that he was being upstaged at all turns by the supervillainous Robert Patrick. Patrick is given all the good lines, gets to make all the cool explosions, even gets the better bad-ass girlfriend (Cena gets Nip/Tuck‘s Kelly Carlson, just as simpering and kind of overrated here). Consequently, by comparison Cena just seems kind of like a wet blanket, the “stop it guys, it’s NOT FUNNY!” kid spoiling everyone else’s good time when he tries to put a stop to Patrick’s (often completley unnecessary) evil misdoings.

Patrick is remembered by some as Agent John Doggett, David Duchovny’s replacement for the last two seasons of The X-Files, and perhaps by Sopranos fans as Tony’s friend with an unfortunate gambling problem in some season two episodes. But 95% of people will best recognize him as the T-1000, sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor after the first Terminator failed to do so in T2: Judgement Day. His blank stare, eerily calm voice and disturbingly well-tuned haircut still petrifies, but unlike his largely humorless T-1000, he’s given some room to actually enjoy himself in The Marine.

Take his introduction. He steps into a bank, immaculately dressed with his girlfriend and other goons by his side, and after taking a few seconds to take in the bank’s ambience, violently disarms the security guard and pulls out a gun of his own. Pointing the gun in the air, he addresses the rest of the bank patrons: “Everybody down!” Except he doesn’t say it as a command, but rather to state the obvious, as if he was getting impatient that the customers had not already gotten that far on their own. It speaks volumes to Patrick’s years of experience in supervillainy, without making things too serious.

But the best scene by far–the one which pretty much single-handedly redeems the movie from PG-13 action movie hell–is when Cena is pursuing Patrick and his cronies in the hopes of retrieving his girlfriend. One of said cronies, at noticing that their sprays of bullets and dozens of evasive techniques had little dissuaded Cena, remarks, “This guy is like The Terminator!” And then you see Patrick give a dirty look into the rearview mirror, as if to say “I told you NEVER to mention that name in my presence again!” That’s some brilliant shit right there.

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2 Responses to “Popcorn Love: Robert Patrick in The Marine (2006)”

  1. Scott said

    My favorite thing about The Marine was how Patrick really did Cena’s job, for the most part. Patrick killed his own cronies before Cena had a chance to ever arrive on the scene.

  2. Robert Patrick is just incredible. This is the kind of guy who can make even the second From Dusk Til Dawn movie kind of worth watching, not to mention singlehandedly saving late period X Files from total suckage. Dude needs more respect. I’m not surprised to see you recognize his badassery.

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