Published on September 23rd, 2003 | by Erich Becker0
Review: The Rundown
The Rock has arrived, pure and simple. The Rundown may be a simple movie, with a simple storyline that wouldn’t normally be considered a star-making film, but for the wrestler turned actor, the movie represents a coming of age and a succession to the throne.
Please note, The Rundown would be nothing without the performances of the main actors, in fact I’m betting that they were specifically written, for the most part, for the thespians that step into their shoes. The film starts off in a night club where Beck (The Rock) confronts a football player on some past bets he placed, and his lack of payment. After a hilariously awkward first confrontation, and a one-liner from The Terminator himself, Beck returns to collect what he came for and opens the film with a very well choreographed, entertaining fight sequence. The film has style and this is evident in the way the director approaches the fighting in the film, as well as the dialog. It sounds simple and trivial, but the added ESPN-like character introductions in the beginning were very, very cool and never overused.
After Beck gets the short end of the stick from his bookie employer he is sent on one last job to Brazil where Travis (Seann William Scott), his boss’ son, is hiding out from some people he shouldn’t have crossed. Once Beck meets up with Travis the movie really begins. But where would a movie be without a quirky, twisted antagonist in the form of Christopher Walken’s Hatcher? Walken brings to the screen the hilarity we usually only get to see on his guest stints on SNL. Scott, brining himself away from the peanut-brained Stifler from American Wedding also delivers his usual charismatic performance as a novice-archeologist hunting for a rare find in the jungle.
The film is just one of those movies that comes along, usually out of no where, and broadsides you as a fun, witty, enjoyable piece of filmmaking that isn’t fishing for an Oscar, but isn’t settling for the lowest common denominator either. What you get is a cleverly put together buddy/action comedy (sans the buddy part) that features two of the hottest stars in Hollywood trekking through the Brazilian jungle. Being strung up in trees and violated by monkeys just adds to the fun.
The action scenes are what you pay for, and action is what you get. Beck, in the beginning, refuses to use guns, opting to only punish his victims with his fists, but in a hairy situation two shotguns make their appearance and the crowd went nuts. As I explained in my review of Underworld, it is rare that you see an audience get so involved in a movie that they cheer along with every gun blast, but it happened here.
The best reason I can determine for this interaction is The Rundown is an extremely fun movie. It won’t win any awards, it won’t even be nominated for them, but anyone who makes it to the movies this weekend, or next, to see this film will be pleasantly surprised they ever doubted the acting abilities and uber-coolness of Dwayne Johnson after his no-line portrayal of The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns and his staring role in the film named after that character.
Truth be told The Rock makes this film enjoyable, and even if you aren’t one to watch wrestling (which I am not) you will still have fun with such a pop-culture icon as The Rock. The Rundown is one of the best reasons to go to the movies this fall.