Are you in the mood to sit down in front of a deep, thought-provoking film? Do you want to walk out of the theater just trying to comprehend the delicate intricacies of the slow yet moving plot? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then do not watch ‘The Rundown.’
However, if you’d rather watch fresh action sequences combined with some slapstick comedy, a fairly light mood and a few fiery explosions, then ‘The Rundown’ is definitely the movie for you.
Beck (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) is a retrieval expert with massive enforcer ability who’s troubled by his ties to Walker (William Lucking), a loan shark. Beck dreams of cutting all bookie ties to fly straight and open his own restaurant. In exchange for $250,000 and a clean break from the business, Beck agrees to do one more job for Walker. The task at hand requires Beck to travel deep into the Amazon to retrieve Walker’s troublemaker son Travis (Sean William Scott). A seemingly simple assignment is bound to have unexpected surprises like Hatcher (Christopher Walken), a powerful and unsympathetic gold mine foreman. The fireball female Mariana (Rosario Dawson) rounds out the otherwise predominately male cast.
The unlikely cast is built around The Rock’s character and works better than one might imagine. Given his work in the WWE, The Rock is persuasive as an unbelievably effective enforcer who desires a quiet life of non-violence. As a compassionate action hero, The Rock is magnetic on-screen, and even manages to do his trademark ‘people’s eyebrow’ at one point in the film.
The Rock’s Beck and Scott’s Travis mesh well together even though they are from entirely different backgrounds. Similar wit and amusing chemistry contribute to the pseudo-friendship between the characters.
Unfortunately, Scott was unable to completely discard the mannerisms of Stifler (his trademark American Pie character), as they annoyingly surfaced throughout the film.
It was also disappointing to see Walken reprising a character he’s done one too many times. Still, because Walken’s character is such an amusing aspect of the film, it is easy to ignore the mediocrity and unoriginality of both the character and his performance and allow ourselves to smile at the goofy way he talks.
Dawson filled the cookie-cutter role as the strong, independent, feisty woman. She adds a charm to the all-male cast, and her striking yet simple look is a refreshing addition to Hollywood. Dawson’s straightforward method of acting will ensure her a successful future in the business.
Shot mainly in the Brazilian jungle, this film boasts a variety of eye-pleasing scenes. Close-ups of lush jungle settings and sky shots of the Amazon River effectively capture the beauty of Brazil. In the film’s many action and fight scenes, Matrix-esque filming techniques were used to amplify the different fighting styles of the characters, which range from red-blooded American bar-fighting to a form of jungle martial arts.
To say that this film has a carefully written script based on accuracy and detail would be a lie. There are many questions that are left unanswered and many storylines within the film that are left incomplete. For example, the character of Beck has an aversion for shooting guns, claiming that they make him a dangerous person, yet the subplot revealing the reason behind this is never revealed. In addition, the mysterious role that Dawson fills, while intruiging, is transparently vague. With a bit more effort, these loose ends could have been strengthened, making the film more respectable
What we must carefully consider, however, is the entertainment factor. Every aspect of this film has been amplified to make it as enjoyable as possible. Catch phrases and one-liners are overused almost to a disgusting degree, which will guarantee their use by 12-year-old boys everywhere.
It is evident that every actor in this film, even The Rock, has the capacity for doing better. Two actors in particular, Dawson in the ’25th Hour’ and Walken in ‘Catch Me if You Can,’ have already had roles in which they showcased their major talent. However, as it has already been said many times before, though this film is not perfect and Oscar-worthy, it is indeed worthwhile and entertaining. For anyone who enjoys action films, this film will be a true delight. Even those who loathe explosions and fighting, will still find this film entertaining due to the great physical comedy and the violence is artful, if nothing else.
All in all, this film is highly recommended. It’s not Shakespeare or Francis Ford Coppola by any means, but it isn’t meant to be. ‘The Rundown’ is engaging and creative, a decent choice for good laughs and a night out with friends.
‘The Rundown’ will be ‘rocking’ theaters nationwide on Sept. 26.