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Overall Rating
3.64

Awesome: 22%
Worth A Look52%
Just Average: 8%
Pretty Crappy: 4%
Sucks: 14%

6 reviews, 64 user ratings


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Rundown, The
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by Erik Childress

"Can You Smell A Moviestar?"
4 stars

Thereís something great when you realize that youíre watching the birth of a moviestar. Actors you can realize an instant talent, but it takes a special presence to hold the screen with a combination of charisma, a knack for self-depreciation and acting chops to boot. You could see it watching Hugh Jackman in X-Men and, now more recently, after years of earning respect, Johnny Depp has stepped into A-list status with Pirates of the Caribbean. The Rock already has a huge fanbase if the insanely popular WWE circuit has any merit whatsoever. His brief appearance in The Mummy Returns may have tacked on another $20 million to its gross and his spinoff, The Scorpion King, nearly hit $100 million in a Spring season slot. That character wasnít as well-designed to show off what heís capable of. Itís Beck in The Rundown thatís going to start converting those not familiar with cage matches. When you get everyone onboard, thatís when you become a moviestar.

In one of the great blink-and-you-miss-it passing of the torches Iíve seen since 1984 (when I last watched the Olympics and The Terminator was in theaters), The Rock walks into a nightclub and is advised to ďhave funĒ, presumably for the adventure heís about to embark in his career and the audience for the remainder of The Rundown. Beck chases down people who owe money to his employer/bookie/loan shark/whatever Walker (William Lucking). He doesnít much care for it, having a stringent aversion to guns, and would like nothing more than to open his own restaurant being more decorated in the culinary arts.

Beck offers to take on one last assignment (always the case), to head to the jungles of South America to retrieve Walkerís son, Travis (Seann William Scott), who owes a personal debt to one of his associates in the states. Travis wants no part of it, believing heís discovered a local treasure and neither does Hatcher (Christopher Walken) since a significant blow to his slave trade could be taken if the artifact is dug up.

So what we have is Midnight Run meets Romancing the Stone, admittedly not the most original of stories. But the film has so many pleasant little nuggets to hold our interest, not the least of which is the way director Peter Berg and his actors make us feel that we havenít seen this all before.

The Rock has an undeniable chemistry on screen. Thereís both confidence and a vulnerability that 90% of the ďnew action hero on the blockĒ wannabes could never emote. As a professional choke slammer, the action is already a no-brainer for him, but watch the way he holds our attention in the scenes with S.W. Scott or gaining the respect of a group of freedom fighters by breaking down how Muhammad Ali would destroy Mike Tyson. Beckís signature move of offering his marks a pair of options, is probably as stale on the page as it sounds, but the way he delivers it, youíre about ready to answer him out loud in the theater. Iíll take The Rock over Seagal, Van Damme, Jet Li (the American version), Jeff Speakman (remember him?) and Stallone any day.

The script by R.J. Stewart (Xena: Warrior Princess) and James Vanderbilt (Basic, Darkness Falls) doesnít have the traditional big twists so inherent today, but surprises us by actually not overloading the proceedings with just action set piece after comical set piece and another Three Stooges like/hate relationship. Expositional characteristics are kept to a minimum, refreshingly leaving us to use our brains for a change. Sticking Rosario Dawson in a film like this usually cries out for just another romantic interest, but instead she becomes just as important to the story as a freedom fighter that is dedicated more to the people than the two male leads.

Of course, what would any cast mention be without Christopher Walken? Since restraining himself to an Oscar nomination last year for Catch Me If You Can, Walken has come back to stealing not just scenes, but entire movies in 2003 with Poolhall Junkies, Gigli and even Kangaroo Jack. The Rundown gives him more screen time and each second is a light-year of anticipation as to what heís going to say or look like next. When your kids ask you about the Tooth Fairy, I implore you to pop in The Rundown and let Walken explain it to them.

Actor Peter Berg, who announced his cinematic directorial presence with the pitch black comedy, Very Bad Things, which gleefully pleased some and repulsed just as many, launches himself into the next level here. The action is well-designed, occasionally overedited, but fluent enough to have us excited by not relying on mere close-ups like so many amateurs and music video directors would be accustomed to. Thereís also some really nice use of CGI on display to enhance the action (particularly a nifty Indiana Jones sequence) without calling attention to it as well as shots that convey the mini-empire that Hatcher has created for himself.

The Rundown is just a helluva fun time at the movies; better than your average buddy/chase flick and funnier than most comedies. Monkeys and the charactersí repeated reactions to them provided some of the most rampant laughs Iíve had all year. Itís only a shame that the trailerís exclamation point (Walken saying ďOw!Ē) has been cut from the movie in favor of a different reaction. What hasnít been excised (finally) is The Rockís potential for stardom. Even when I wasnít watching the WWE, friends who were fans didnít have to convince me that he was destined for greater things. Maybe I wasnít there for the beginning of his career, but you can see The Rundown and say that you were. So get on board or youíll miss one of the most purely entertaining films of the year.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8182&reviewer=198
originally posted: 09/26/03 01:03:40
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell action & humor blend well 4 stars
8/25/13 DB I love action movies in general, but this one sucks! 1 stars
7/30/10 PAUL SHORTT HARMLESS ENTERTAINMENT 3 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner The Rock is a great actor! 5 stars
7/14/08 sweetgrrl1972 Surprisingly fun movie! The Rock proved he had chops in this. 4 stars
10/19/07 john great screenplay by james vanderbilt 5 stars
10/13/06 AJ Muller B-movie rises to A-level based on entertainment value alone; just have fun, okay?!? 5 stars
5/31/06 R.W.Welch Over-the-top actioner with intricate choreography. Works reasonably well. 3 stars
4/21/06 Jack Awesome! 5 stars
9/01/05 Tom Burns My favorite movie with The Rock. Loved it! 5 stars
7/24/05 Steve Newman Film entertained my 12 yr old (he says awesome) - i thought it was rubbish - stay clear 2 stars
5/01/05 Valerie The Rock rocks in this movie! 5 stars
4/24/05 Quigley the rock could never survive the stuff he suffes but a good film. But no more Sean W. Scott 3 stars
4/08/05 B Kniprath Very good action packed movie. 4 stars
3/04/05 Dan Good movie. 4 stars
1/31/05 axe Are they out of the jungle yet? *YAWN* 3 stars
11/18/04 JIZZ I think i could together a better movie about deficating than this could ever be 1 stars
11/10/04 Misti Very funny, not what I expected. Seann William Scott is hilarious 4 stars
11/07/04 Tony U c the Rock get smacked the fuck up and he still isn't tired or hurt 4 stars
7/09/04 qemm definetly way better then you would expect from a movie with the rock and seann scott in it 4 stars
7/03/04 I love Ernie Reyes Jr. This is an awesome movie. Seann William Scott is sooo hot. 5 stars
6/07/04 Tiit very good action 5 stars
5/05/04 J.Peckerfoot i wasnt expecting meet joe black and i didnt get it.good action com! 4 stars
4/21/04 M "stifler" is so fukn annoyin!!!! gets an averge for rippling muscles 3 stars
4/16/04 Michael Greenwaldt Entertaining! 4 stars
4/12/04 Vince Brainless action movie, crap script. A few impressive action scenes though. 2 stars
4/07/04 mongoose0111 OH MY GOD does this film suck!!! 1 stars
3/27/04 Kev Sounds like some people took it waaaaaay too seriously. 5 stars
3/23/04 K Sucks harder than your mom 1 stars
3/14/04 KEZZA I'm with Jack, sorry Chloe - it Rocks (get it?) 5 stars
3/14/04 Jack No waste of time because it wasnt total crap 4 stars
1/23/04 Chloe Brody Waste of my fucking time! 1 stars
1/17/04 esquire not too freaking serious which i liked & just good fun! 5 stars
1/15/04 Helen Bradley Rubbish what a waste of money 1 stars
1/09/04 Nefertiri I love that movie.. I love The Rock... poor Rock He have been humped by the horny monkeys> 5 stars
1/01/04 Long River BORING 2 stars
12/28/03 jas sucks! So goddamn stupid 1 stars
11/27/03 John it's only good if you have never seen a good action movie 3 stars
11/06/03 Cameron Slick Brings good new inventions to the tired buddy action film. 4 stars
11/02/03 melfl it was a very funny and good movie. 5 stars
10/20/03 Christian Harding Great Mvie 4 stars
10/19/03 Igor Im not sure why I liked it. Maybe because my expectations were so low. Oh well. 5 stars
10/18/03 Frodogandy I expected it to suck ass, but it rocked! Rosario has tig ol' bitties! 5 stars
10/17/03 fiddla on da roof so good-i want to have gay sex with myself 5 stars
10/16/03 Josh Standlee Nothing but great entertainment the whole way through! Loved it! 5 stars
10/16/03 jacques This movie was pretty good. 4 stars
10/06/03 Lola Farjardo Did anyone see the movie The Rundown? I finally did, and I must say I thought the storyline 2 stars
10/06/03 Ken Tonn The movie was really awsome. 5 stars
10/06/03 joconnell Pure fun! 4 stars
10/04/03 Jiz Rock acting? Scott funny? Strange day, but true. The monkey scene was retarded though. 4 stars
10/03/03 nick2k i was afraid the walken/rock/scott mix...but it wasn't crap at all. wow... 4 stars
10/01/03 Jestyr gonna agree with most everyone else. not bad, its a good fun film. 4 stars
9/30/03 Heath Good cinematography and decent acting - especially Walkins! 4 stars
9/29/03 Duckman damn funny show 4 stars
9/29/03 Obi Wan Surpisingly good. Rock was very good, action was good and comedy was on point! Nice Cameo 5 stars
9/28/03 JR I AGREE IT SUCKS.......ROCK GO BACK TO WRESTLING 1 stars
9/28/03 othree buyable choreographed fun, The Rock is always a solid character ;) 4 stars
9/27/03 jimmy james its ok, and would be better if you are 15 3 stars
9/27/03 srburns Fun popcorn movie 4 stars
9/26/03 KingNeutron Some good comic moments, Rock's best movie so far. 3 stars
9/26/03 Rod Johnston This is a sweet movie. I can really smell what the Rock is cookin! 5 stars
9/26/03 R Sanchez A fun, silly b movie. The Rock surprised me, he can actually act and he and Walken make it 4 stars
9/21/03 The F-Bomb it was fucking awesome! horny monkeys!!! 5 stars
9/20/03 michaelb14 saw a sneak preview, great popcorn flick, the rock was actually funny, and great action 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  26-Sep-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 23-Mar-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  01-Jan-2004




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