Thursday, 13 March 2008
Marine Issue (aka Instant Justice)
MARINE ISSUE (aka INSTANT JUSTICE) (1986)
Written & Directed by: Craig T. Numar
Starring: Michael Pare, Tawny Kitaen & Charles Napier
They say never judge a book by its cover, well the same can apply to DVDs. Well VHS really. Marine Issue was a video that was always on the shelves at my local video store when I was a kid. Never being able to rent it as it was an 18 certificate (equivalent to an American R rated feature), I would always pick it up and wonder at the cool action, stunts and babes it must offer before putting it back and renting The Goonies for the 92nd time. Now why would I be so desperate to rent Marine Issue, a third rate action picture that no one has heard off and features that big haired bird from that Whitesnake video. Because the cover was so damn cool, that’s why. A slickly dressed marine holding a massive automatic machine gun with the tag line ‘Move a muscle and you’re history,’ was enough to seal the deal: I had to see this movie. Coupled with the 18 certificate, the Warner brothers logo and that bird from that Whitesnake video, there was no way this movie was gonna suck and there was no way I was not gonna see it.
Unfortunately the intervening years, the quest to discover girls (which is still ongoing), and the fact Marine Issue disappeared from all video stores come the mid nineties, proved it would be a long time before I would actually get round to seeing it. Finding an old copy in a charity store (for the solid price of 79p) and once again suckered by the awesome cover (as seen above), I snapped it up and looked forward to what was bound to be a fun slice of 80s action. Was it worth the wait? Well what do you think? No. Well, maybe. But really, no. Never be suckered by a cool cover, it will only lead to disappointment.
Marine Issue is a bad movie. The story of top class marine Scott Youngblood (Pare) tracking down the killers of his younger sister in Madrid offers few surprises and features some of the lamest acting around. This is an 80s action film and the acting is supposed to be lame. But damn, it’s as if the actors are reading their stuff of cue cards or they filmed the rehearsals of the actors running through their lines and then used those takes. Every one is wooden, especially Pare, and I swear the lead bad guy actually fumbles his lines in one scene but carries on. On top of this there are also some of the most cringe inducing scenes you are likely to see. For absolutely no reason, Youngblood’s mate and fellow marine secretly sneaks a gun into Youngblood’s luggage. Youngblood is then caught with it at the airport, detained, the weapon confiscated, then let go and then has to break into a US embassy to get a new gun to complete his mission. What!!?? It makes no sense, is completely irrelevant to the story and is made even more redundant by the fact that the gun confiscated is a ‘marine issue’ (hence the title) but Youngblood never gets to use it. So why call it Marine Issue? That’s not the worst. The most un-erotic, uncomfortable, pointless shower scene proves that writer/director, Craig T. Numar, had no clue what he was doing. Tawny Kitaen (the big haired babe from that Whitesnake video) even says at one point, ‘Why do I still have my clothes on?’ Exactly, why do you? To which Pare just bursts out laughing; in the middle of the scene. This, and many other scenes will make you squirm for all the wrong reasons.
Yet despite all the bad, Marine Issue has a certain charm. Maybe it’s the 80s feel, or Kitaen’s ridiculously big hair (which is ridiculous even by 80s standards), or maybe it’s cause I just wanted to like the movie so much. Despite getting so many things wrong, the film is still nicely shot and it moves at a fair pace meaning you are never bored. The action is no great shakes but there is plenty of chases and fights (including the most random bar fight ever) and Pare does run round with that cool machine gun from the cover. There is also a bit nudity and Pare being as gung ho as he can possibly be (‘A Trams Am: fucking aye!’), which all helps in the entertainment department. In addition, it seems this is known as Marine Issue only here in the UK and as Instant Justice everywhere else. Marine Issue might be a cooler title but it doesn’t make the film any better.
Back in the day, I should have known this would have sucked as it was always on the shelf when I went in the video store. Never out. Still, that cover is cool.