Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Movie Review: The Rundown

I was on the phone last night talking to Ryley about God knows what and one way or another he brought up the movie “The Rundown.” Now, I’m a big fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, have been for years, but for one reason or another I have yet to watch a single movie he’s in. Since I had to go to the video store anyway, I figured I’d rent “The Rundown” and have myself a simple evening of fun unadulterated action movie bliss.

The movie stars the aforementioned Rock, as well as Seann William “Stiffler” Scott, and the ultimate evil himself Christopher Walken. The synopsis is this… A man named Beck, played by The Rock, works for this “gangster,” Jimmy, as a retrieval expert. He goes and collects bounties or debts that are owed to Jimmy. We don’t what the deal is with Jimmy, since they don’t develop it at all, but to be honest it has little importance on the film. Jimmy’s kid, Travis, played by Scott, is a Harvard dropout who’s living in Brazil and trying really hard to be a treasure hunter. Beck wants this to be his last job, so he can start his restaurant, and Jimmy agrees.

Beck lands in Brazil and heads off to find Scott where is runs into Hatcher, played by Walken, in this shady town called El Dorado. A little movie trivia here…the working title of this film was Helldorado all the way until shortly before the first trailers came out. The studio decided to change the name of the film to The Rundown, which has nothing to do with the film at all, because they didn’t like the name Hell in the title and thought it might alienate the more conservative audiences that don’t like the word Hell, but have no problem with death and violence. Hatcher runs El Dorado as a slave labor mining camp. Basically, he’s real scum, but Walken makes him interesting sum in that way only Christopher Walken can do with a character.

Turns out Travis owes Hatcher some money, or Hatcher wants what Travis is looking for…whatever, it doesn’t matter, and Hatcher tells Beck he’s going to have to pay for the rights to take Travis out of the town. Beck obliges, pays, and goes out to get Travis, who is at a local watering hole. Beck gets Travis, and then Hatcher shows up, crossing Beck, and wanting more money and the valuable relic only Travis knows how to find. Beck beats up like ten guys and escapes with Travis, who isn’t thrilled about going home.

From there it’s about an hour of nonstop shenanigans until the end of the movie. What’s nice is that The Rundown doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. It knows it’s a fun and simple action flick and does its part in a smart and clever way. The Rock and Scott’s on screen dynamic is great. Their characters are fun and interesting, with Scott really playing up the wanna be whittyness of his character perfectly. There is plenty of violence and fighting to be had with some very well designed action pieces. The camera work leaves something to be desired at times, but overall does a just job of keeping up.

If you don’t go into this film expecting anything groundbreaking I think you’ll enjoy it. Peter Berg directs, which can’t hurt any film, and does a fine job with what he was given here. All in all, the weakest character and actor was actress Rosario Dawson, who, aside from her perfect breasts, did an average job with her part. While nothing in this movie is truly believable, she is the least believable of all. I can’t explain why, since it will reveal a plot twist, but when it happens, I don’t think you’ll buy it either. It’s not that she’s bad; it’s that she just isn’t good.

One more nice thing about this movie, there is no “love story” involved at all. Scott and Rosario’s characters have some sort of implied past relationship, but the reality of it is cleared up in a convenient scene later on. The whole time I was expecting either Rock or Scott to have something click with Rosario, but it didn’t happen and I was glad. There was no room or point for love in this story. Sometimes it’s better to leave things out of the formula and just do the other parts better, I’m glad they went with that method for this movie.

Overall, I’d give this an 8 out of 10 for an action movie rating, and a 7 out of 10 over all. It’s a fun way to spend 90 minutes and was a good feature for the Rock.

-Steve

2 Comments:

Anonymous Captain Dickbag said...

My question: Do you smell what the Rock is cookin'?

Also: How sweet was that scene in the club?

2:30 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Yes, the scene in the club was great. When they would give the quick shot of the football players as he talked about then, and a football card style facts sheet, it was a neat touch.

The footage looked like it was from the failed XFL. I'm almost positive of it.

3:23 PM  

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