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Starring: The Rock, Seann William Scott
Director: Peter Berg
Genre: Action
Year: 2003
Rating: 2 / 5

The Rock may someday be the next great action hero, but today is not that day. Or, in the case of this commentary, The Rundown is not that movie. After The Scorpion King, this marked the would-be action star’s second chance to headline a major movie. Despite an impressive opening take at the box office, The Rundown faded fast, a decline eerily similar to the film’s own story. The Rock is already better than a lot of the C-list actors tossing out action films each year, but he still has a way to go to achieve the success Arnold Schwarzenegger did more than twenty years prior.

Beck (The Rock) is a “retrieval expert,” a man sent to find people who do not want to be found. At the film’s onset, we see Beck making a move on a stud pro quarterback, a man who is deeply indebted to The Rock’s employer. After the man repeatedly refuses to accept Beck’s reasonable offers, fisticuffs ensue. Within minutes, Beck has downed an entire offensive line and reminded the beaten quarterback that no one, no matter how rich or famous, gets any breaks from Beck. The case does drive Beck to reconsider his profession, though, to the point that he agrees to do one more job before retiring from the business for good.

Beck’s final mission is to find Travis (Seann William Scott), his boss’s wayward son, somewhere deep in the Amazon and bring him home. Once there, Beck quickly encounters Hatcher (Christopher Walken), a man with a virtual stranglehold on a poor mining town. Beck’s plans for a smooth exit are tossed out the window when Hatcher learns that Travis may be able to locate a very valuable treasure hidden in the jungle. What follows is a series of chases involving Beck, Travis, Hatcher, and Travis’s friend Mariana (Rosario Dawson). Things truly get out of hand and Beck’s honor is called into question, forcing a climactic showdown with Hatcher for control of the town.

I cannot believe I am saying this, but it almost appears that The Rock is too sophisticated for roles like this. He certainly handles himself more than capably in his action scenes, showing a greater range of fighting skills than in his previous efforts. Oddly, his “regular guy” persona could use a few touches, as The Rock almost seems too literate and clean-cut to be a tough guy. You always had the impression that Schwarzenegger and Stallone were bruising fellows looking for an excuse to thrown down. The Rock seems more inclined to haggle before tussling, a fact that may bode well for his long-term health even if it makes his initial action efforts a little lacking. The Rundown is what it is – a serviceable action film and another stepping stone in The Rock’s career rebirth.


The Rock..........Beck
Seann William Scott..........Travis
Rosario Dawson..........Mariana
Christopher Walken..........Hacther

Certification: Rated PG-13 for violence.
Running Time: 104 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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[Critics Corner]