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THE RUNDOWN

The Rundown is clunky and kinda slow at times, but it IS significant because itís gonna make Dwayne ďThe RockĒ Johnson a star.
Yes, there was that small, cheesy part in THE MUMMY RETURNS, which led to the starring role in THE SCORPION KING (which gets a small homage of sorts in this film), but in The Rundown, The Rock finally shows what heís capable of.
And itís a lot.

The Rock plays a man known only as Beck, a retrieval expert. Sort of a repo-man on steroids. Like many movies before, he needs to do one last job before he can retire and start living his dream life with his dream job. So he goes to the Amazon in search of the weaselly Seann Williams Scott, an opportunistic, low rent Indian Jones, without the fedora , or the good guy morals. But in Hollywood nothingís easy, so Rosario Dawson (looks better each time I see her!) and Christopher Walken join the fray under actor Peter Bergís surprisingly sharp directorial eye.
The result is surprisingly good. It might be a pretty standard buddy-action riff, but The Rock really impresses in it. It was with his charm and charisma that he became hugely popular in the wrestling world (this film is in association with WWE Entertainment and boss man Vince McMahon is a producer), and finally we get to see that translate to the screen. Itís completely his movie, and he dominates every scene heís in, save one, which Iíll get to in a minute. He has an awesome screen presence, and I must say, he actually has acting skills. Heís not a Cage or Spacey or a Depp, but he is the new action star (Vin who?), and this movie represents the figurative passing of the baton.
Possibly literally too, if you pay attention in the beginning.

The rest of the cast is fine too.
Rosario Dawsonís Spanish / Portuguese dialect / dialogue is a little iffy, but thatís OK. Sheís still good and like I said, looks pretty yummy. Christopher Walken is a bit of a disappointment, but thatís because weíve come to expect such greatness from this eccentric character actor that anything less than mindblowing is a shame.
Seann Williams Scott does a nice job. Heís better than he was in BULLET-PROOF MONK, but not nearly as funny and over the top as he was in AMERICAN WEDDING.

The scene stealer I mentioned earlier is Ernie Reyes Jr. I remember when he was a child martial arts prodigy cum child actor in such flicks as Conan the Destroyer, or was it Red Sonja? Donít remember. And I think he was one of the turtles in the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. Anyway, here heís a member of a band of rebels, and heís way over the top but scary cool, and damn, heís scary built and cut enough to be a rapper!
I dunno, I thought he was cool.

So Peter Berg delivers a nice little action flick. Kudos to him for some inventive imagery early on, and for keeping it all together. But next time keep the monkeys out of itÖ
And major kudos, again to Mr. Johnson (wonder if heíll ever stop being called The Rock). I hope this is a big hit and he gets bigger and better roles. Now we know he deserves them.

B +

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