Hollywood makes for strange careers. Orson Welles made what's widely regarded as the best movie of all time. His second-to-last role was as a planet-sized evil robot in the animated Transformers movie.
In 2003, fate brought together a pro wrestler, a teen sex comedy icon, the future director of Battleship, the writer of 40 episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess, and the guy who'd write one of the decade's best films. It sounds like a disaster. Instead, it led to The Rundown, one of the most unheralded action flicks in recent years.
Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson is a retrieval expert. His latest task is to bring back Seann William Scott, his boss' treasure-hunting son. Scott's in the Amazon in search of a priceless relic. But he's not the only one. Ruthless mine owner Christopher Walken wants it, too--and so do the local rebels.
Scott is kind of amazing. By all rights, we should hate him. He's arrogant, obnoxious and handsome. That's grounds for being put in a sack, which is then put into a river which, ideally, then flows into a larger river. Yet he makes everything he's in better. This is probably because he has absolutely no problem looking like a fool. In The Rundown, he spends roughly 50% of the movie hopping around on one foot or getting punched in the face.
The same is true of Johnson. Not the hopping part. He spends most of the movie beating people until they no longer want to fight him. Or be alive. What I meant is Johnson isn't afraid to look goofy, either. Many action stars take themselves pretty seriously. Some seem to think they really could parachute into a terrorist's ear canal and ninja-flip straight out their mouth. Maybe it's his wrestling background, but Johnson just commits to his role, no matter how goofy he needs to be.
Okay, that was a really longwinded way to say Scott and Johnson are good and funny together, and help make The Rundown infinitely more entertaining than a typical Hollywood action flick.
Then again, that's to be expected from director Peter Berg. That guy is just unappreciated. I bet he sighs himself awake every morning even though all his movies are so fleet and funny I honestly think his upcoming Battleship will be pretty good. Not that I'm going to stop making fun of it. Not until I see Liam Neeson bellowing "E-4!" into his radio.
The Rundown isn't a revolutionary movie. It just wants to entertain you -- and everyone involved is committed to just that.