More topical—thanks to the recent federal court ruling against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—than it is dramatic, A Marine Story has its heroine return home under circumstances mysterious only to her small-town friends. Why ex-major Alexandra (Dreya Weber) has been booted from the Marines is certainly easy for us to guess, despite the wedding ring. She’s a hard-bodied, bar-brawling, take-no-shit-from-men kind of gal. For two decades, the military was her life, until it suddenly turned against her. (Flashbacks reveal the insinuation, inevitable investigation, and discharge.) When not binge drinking to ease the pain, Alex begins mentoring tall, lithe, 20-year-old Saffron (Paris P. Pickard), who’s hoping to join the military. “Give me total submission,” Alex demands—but, sorry, it’s not that kind of movie. Their workouts naturally raise rumors in this California hick town, where a jolly game of paintball is Alex’s chief diversion from prejudice. Add a stalker/blackmailer to the mix, along with some pesky meth heads whom she must confront, and the movie becomes a lesbian amalgam of Walking Tall and Billy Jack. Relentlessly clumsy and predictable, A Marine Story is set in late 2008, just as a new political breeze is blowing. But its abrupt, wishful postscript is still just a fairy tale.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 3, 2010