The Rundown

A Film Review The Mike

Rating:RATED PG-13 for Violence, Language and Mild Sexual Humor
Starring: The Rock, Seann William Scott, Christopher Walken, Rosario Dawson
Directed By: Peter Berg

Final Grade:

Do you smell what The Rock is cookin’?

I admit, I used to. Not-so-many years ago I was definitely one of The Rock’s millions (and millions) of fans, and would easily laud him as a star in any vein of entertainment he entered. But then I grew older, and then The Scorpion King showed up, and that luster disappeared. I didn’t think The Rundown, which looked average in every non-Walken aspect of its trailer, would change that opinion. I was wrong.

The Rundown opens by introducing us to Beck (The Rock), a “retrieval expert” by trade, while he is trying to collect a debt from an NFL star who’s teammates are very protective of. After receiving Ah-nold’s endorsement via cameo, The Rock proceeds to kick some butt in a extremely well done scene (with bonus props to the NFL style player cards, a wonderful idea by Director Berg).

The job goes wrong, and he now owes his boss a favor. That favor happens to be traveling to South America and returning home with his boss’s son (Scott), a treasure hunter who’s stumbled onto an artifact that both the local bartender (Dawson) and the local godfather (Walken) would like to possess. This makes Beck’s job much more difficult than he expected it to be.

It’s a simple premise, the type that’s worked in buddy action films for decades. The only thing that can make it work is the actors and the chemistry between them. And that just happens to be one of The Rundown’s strongest points. Seann William Scott is his usual self, perfect with a pun and quick to joke. Christopher Walken is almost too cool for the villain role (we are never really made to hate him, one of the film’s weaknesses), but he does manage it well enough. Rosario Dawson is good enough to look at as the token female of the film as well.

But the key to the film is its star, The Rock. I never thought I’d say it, but he carries the film with ease, creating an onscreen presence that’s staggeringly cool. When properly mixed with the healthy doses of Scott’s humor or Walken’s charming wackiness, it creates an extremely fun time.

The thing that action/comedies like this make me worry most about is how they make the two elements fit together. There are many comic scenes that will live in my memory for a while, most notably Walken’s speech about the Tooth Fairy and the final minute of the film. But there are also numerous action scenes that succeed as well. That said, the best thing about this film is the story, which mixes these great elements perfectly. The story never strays from its path, building up perfectly to a great final battle involving cattle, explosions and guns, despite Beck’s proclamation that – “He doesn’t like guns”.

That too is refreshing about The Rundown – there are no guns used by the hero until the final battle, when he goes all-out Ah-nold style. It’s a great development, and despite our expecting it all film it looks too good in the context of the battle to complain about.

The Rundown turns out to be nothing more than a fun buddy-action film that is packed full of elements from films like Midnight Run and Romancing the Stone. That’s not a bad thing. If nothing else, it proves that The Rock can be a star in Hollywood, and that soon we might all smell what he’s cookin’.

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