Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Movie Review: "The Rundown" (2003)

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Movie"The Rundown"
Director: Peter Berg
Year: 2003
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Beck (Dwayne Johnson) works as a muscle for hire, who either finds people or retrieves money for his boss Walker (William Lucking). He has been trying to get out of that business and open his own restaurant. However, Walker has just offered him a seemingly easy job that will pay $250,000 and allow Beck to get out of debt and fulfill his dream. All he has to do is go to Brazil, find Walker's son Travis (Seann William Scott), and bring him home, a task that proves to be far more difficult than expected, especially after Beck has a run-in with a local businesses man named Hatcher (Christopher Walken), who uses his private army to oppress and exploit the local workers.

Remember when Seann William Scott was a thing???

Director Peter Berg gives Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson his second leading role in the film "The Rundown." After the box office success of his first starring role, "The Scorpion King," many thought The Rock was the immediate heir apparent to be the new leading action star in Hollywood, hoping he could replace aging old timers Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Schwarzenegger even has a cameo in this film where he wishes 'The Rock' "good luck" as a symbolic passing of the torch. Unfortunately, this movie didn't do all that well at the box office, only pulling in $80 million worldwide on an $85 million budget. Despite its lack of success, this isn't a terrible action film. Sure, the script is pretty darn silly, it's quite mindless, and it's all over the place, but what pure action movie isn't? There is no doubt there's some fun to be had here. We think part of this is because The Rock is just so damn charming and full of bright, bubbling, self-effacing charisma, you can't help but like him and support him in whatever job he's doing. It also helps to have a well known veteran actor like Christopher Walken as the villain in a film like this. The way Walken delivers his lines as Hatcher is always a good time, his diction fierce and his facial expressions ranging from zany to intimidating. Seann William Scott was at the top of his game in the early 2000's. Though he tends to stick to comedies dealing with a lot of sex, he occasionally ventured elsewhere in his career, but nearly always maintained his joking ways. Scott as Travis is also good for a laugh as he puts on yet another performance as his typical likable douche persona.

Since this is an action film first, of course, action movie physics are in full effect. When people are punched or kicked, they go flying 10 to 15 feet. When our two protagonists fall down the side of a mountain, hitting every tree and rock imaginable, they get up with hardly a scratch on them. In a gun fight, no matter how outnumbered they are or how many bullets fly in every which direction, our hero is never hit once, and when he shoots, he never misses. If we really tried to scrutinize or pick apart the script, it would immediately unravel because of course it would. There are times when characters are pointlessly introduced never to be seen again, and other times where loose ends aren't really tied up neatly. There are also many instances of bad acting here. Rosario Dawson, who we usually don't have a problem with, tries to put on a Brazilian accent and it sounds way beyond terrible, cheesy, and fake. All this being said, "The Rundown" is still a relatively enjoyable ride as long as you just turn off your brain on the way to the couch.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 71%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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