DVD Release DateJohn Cena's debut film, initially criticized, gains popularity on Netflix nearly two...

John Cena’s debut film, initially criticized, gains popularity on Netflix nearly two decades later

  • The Marine, John Cena’s movie debut, has become a hit on Netflix despite its initial negative reviews.
  • The film spawned a franchise with five direct-to-video sequels featuring other stars and former fighters.
  • Cena’s acting career continues to thrive, with major roles in franchises and multiple movie releases in 2023 and 2024.

John Cena has established himself as a prominent actor in Hollywood over the past 20 years, following a similar path as fellow wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. However, Cena’s first foray into film, much like Johnson’s appearance in The Mummy Returns, did not initially go over well with critics. His debut film, The Marine, released in 2006 and was highly criticized at the time; however, it has since gained popularity on Netflix.

Transitioning from wrestling to acting, Cena played John Triton in The Marine, an action flick directed by John Bonito. The movie failed to impress critics, earning a mere 17% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite this, the film has a 60% audience score on the same site, pointing to a more positive reception from viewers.

It appears that Netflix subscribers aren’t too concerned about the critics’ opinions. During the week of December 18 to 24, The Marine garnered 7.6 million viewed hours and 5 million total views, placing it in the global top 10 movies on the streaming service for that time frame.

The Marine tells the story of soldier John Triton, who must rescue his kidnapped wife from a dangerous criminal gang. Despite earning only $22 million at the box office, the film birthed a franchise with five direct-to-video sequels starring other former fighters like Ted DiBiase Jr, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, and notable actors such as Michael Rooker, Temuera Morrison, and Melissa Roxburgh.

Over time, Cena’s career in Hollywood has flourished with roles in major film franchises like Transformers, Fast & Furious, and DC’s The Suicide Squad as the character Peacemaker. He had a busy year in 2023, with six film releases: Fast X, Barbie, Hidden Strike, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, Vacation Friends 2, and Freelance.

In 2024, Cena has two confirmed movie releases: Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle, which also stars Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Catherine O’Hara, Dua Lipa, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sofia Boutella, and Peter Farrelly’s Ricky Stanicky, which includes Zac Efron, Jermaine Fowler, Andrew Santino, Lex Scott Davis, William H. Macy, and Anja Savcic.

Cena has also completed filming for Coyote vs. Acme, a live-action/animated hybrid movie featuring Wile E. Coyote. The film was initially shelved by Warner Bros. Discovery, but may still find a release if a buyer steps forward. Its current status remains uncertain.