The Rundown

"OK"

The Rundown Review


With the almost guaranteed success of the bounty-hunter action-comedy "The Rundown," eyebrow-arching, mountain-of-muscle wrestler-cum-actor The Rock may well be on his way to becoming this decade's top-dog action-movie hero -- and I'm OK with that.

Exuding screen charisma, showing increasing talent and never taking himself too seriously (unlike unofficial genre rival Vin Diesel), the guy seems to know what to look for in a good B-movie and enthusiastically embraces all the absurdities therein. In both "The Scorpion King," one of last year's best guilty pleasures, and this over-the-top testosterone romp, he seems to be winking at the audience as if to say, "Yeah, I know it's dumb. But aren't you having a great time?"

The Rock stars in "The Rundown" as an aspiring chef and reluctant enforcer for a ruthless, upscale L.A. bookie. Being a colossus and growing up in a bad part of town, he found himself in this racket for lack of better options, and now he wants out so he can start his own restaurant. After an impressively creative opening-scene nightclub brawl erupts between The Rock and a bunch of linebackers when he tries to collect $50,000 from a gambling-addicted NFL star ("They've got a legitimate shot of repeating this year," he tells his boss. "I don't wanna hurt them!"), our hero is given his chance: The Rock can walk away from his mob job if he goes to South America and drags back the boss's good-for-nothing son (Seann William Scott).

Naturally, that proves to be much easier said than done. He arrives in Brazil to discover the snarky lout is on a treasure hunt for a priceless golden idol and in the process has run afoul of a greedy strip-mine operator (oily, paunchy, entertainingly chomp-chompy Christopher Walken) who has enslaved the local population in an enormous (and cheaply CGI-rendered) quarry.

As these two cat-and-mouse through the authentically sweaty, muddy Amazon with Walken's men in hot pursuit (a creative, panning aerial shot zooms out from one group and down onto the other), they run headlong into a jungle-fu-kicking rebel army lead by a robust babe (Rosario Dawson with a on-again-off-again accent), which leads to one of the movie's many lightning-punching powerhouse fight scenes.

Director Peter Berg ("Very Bad Things") takes his cues from Hong Kong for these punch-outs of enjoyably unrealistic resiliency and refreshingly unkinetic editing, but actually breaks new ground with their high-impact choreography. At first The Rock gets pretty well whooped by the rather diminutive rebels, who kick and punch with hummingbird velocity, sending the burly brute flying into trees with a crunching thud you can feel.

Coordinating between stunt coaches and cinematographer, Berg places the camera where he can get the maximum impact of the sometimes dirty fights (burning tree branch to the head -- owch!) and often captures wow-worthy slow-motion shots of, say, The Rock's punch-spun mass crashing head-first through a brick wall (and emerging largely unscathed, of course).

Eventually the no-nonsense hunter, the smart-alec hunted and the sexy, single-minded rebel girl team up to find the ancient Indian idol (insert blatant "Raiders of the Lost Ark" rip-off here and don't ask how Scott knows where to find it), and defeat the brutal but droll Walken -- although not without a few unpredictable and amusing double-crosses.

But as much fun as "The Rundown" can be thanks to its genuinely inventive fights, its weird sense of humor and The Rock's surprisingly naturally performance, the flick is burdened with a irritating Bon-Jovi-like grinding-guitar score, an extraneous scene or two stuck in lowbrow comedy mode, and dialogue that's not so much hackneyed as torpid and tedious.

"Shut up," Scott bellyaches to The Rock. "What did you just say?" The Rock threatens back. Now, I don't expect a zingy repartee between these guys, but come on -- at least give them something worth saying.

Of course, no matter how insipid his lines are, perma-smirking, hyper-active one-note stoner-dude Scott ("American Pie," etc.) finds a way to make them worse with snide over-acting -- which is a telling contrast of talent against Walken, who chews up his lame dialogue and spits it out funnier than it really is.

But sometimes even when the movie's bad, it's good. A big deal is made of The Rock's no-guns philosophy, which seems like a ridiculous conceit for a violent action movie -- until he gets mad enough to fall off the wagon, leading to a raucous shootout finale (unfortunately interrupted by some sloppy comedy cutaways) with the big guy firing a pair of shotguns as if they were six-shooters.

If The Rock's impending reign as action king continues to be as check-you-brain entertaining as "The Rundown" is despite its flaws, and if his acting continues to improve in a way that Schwarzenegger's and Stallone's never did, I might even be willing to call myself a fan.



The Rundown

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th September 2003

Box Office USA: $47.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $80.9M

Budget: $85M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 105 Rotten: 43

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Beck, as Travis, as Mariana, as Hatcher, Ernie Reyes, Jr. as Manito, as Knappmiller, as Declan, as Harvey, as Walker

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Advertisement
Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.