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.
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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.