Say what you want about some of the movies Dwayne Johnson has been in, but this is one that stands out to me and proves he can be fun on screen. The Rundown, directed by Peter Berg, stars Johnson, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson, and Christopher Walken. The plot of the film can be narrowed down to a simple kidnap and bring home story, but it does arc and change into a tale of treasure hunting and then a tale of revolution.
This movie has a good role for The Rock. His character is a “retrieval expert” who wants to open up a restaurant. Unlike other action movies Johnson, and others like Johnson, have made, this is a reasonable goal for a protagonist. It shows something human in a guy who’s known for busting heads. Speaking of that persona, anytime that Johnson is with Seann William Scott is where the tough-guy comes out. As usual, Scott is a cocky character, but when opposite Johnson, it creates banter; which is always an action movie strongpoint. Another strongpoint is a good villain, in this case, Christopher Walken. Unfortunately The Rundown doesn’t have many scenes with its antagonist. Walken is good, he’s in it enough not to discourage viewers but when a guy like him is in the movie, you should use him. As for Rosario Dawson, she is good but I can’t help but feel that she’s just here because there were no women in the movie.
The action in this movie is cool to say the least. It is by no means great but it does what it does well. Sometimes it shows of Johnson’s wrestling abilities, other times traditional gun-play. The coolest parts of the action are the occasional slow motion sequences. These sequences don’t try hard to be flashy, which makes them better. They only exist to show real people doing these things in a way for us to actually focus on the highlights of each fight. When guns come into the action, the slow motion acts as that classic way of showcasing how cool the main character is. The only questionable action is the whip fights. They may have been interesting ideas on paper, but I don’t think they work as well as other fights.
Another thing that makes this movie interesting is the location. Yes movies have been filmed in the Amazon before but it’s always great having real scenery. The best relation to this would be stunts. It makes all the difference when stuntmen fall down a real dirt mound on a cliffside rather than a prop. Even something as simple as driving a jeep on a real dirt or mud road can change someone’s perspective of a scene. Obviously not all of it was filmed in Brazil but there’s enough to make the jungle believable.
The Rundown is a really fun action-adventure-comedy. I think it is one of Dwayne Johnson’s better action movies and tough guy roles. If nothing else, it does what it does well and is entertaining and engaging.