The Rundown (2003)
In the beginning of the new action comedy The Rundown, Beck (The Rock), a bounty hunter, is entering a club on a job. On his way in Arnold Schwarzenegger passes him by and says, ”Have fun.” Consider it a proverbial torch passing, because while Schwarzenegger is going to be busting the campaign trail, The Rundown establishes The Rock as the fresh and capable marquee name for all future action films. This man is a star.
Beck is offered a chance to square off all debts to mobster Billy Walker by agreeing to journey into the Brazilian jungle. His mission is to retrieve Travis (Seann William Scott), a hyperactive screw-up who happens to be Walker’s son. One Beck travels to the Amazon he runs into Hatcher (Christopher Walken) who claims to own the jungle and whatever contents dwell within. He asserts that Travis has stumbled upon a wealthy artifact in his jungle and therefore refuses Beck to leave with Travis. It’s at this point that the chase is on.
I don’t care what your little sister told you, Vin Diesel is not the next face of action, no, it’s The Rock. Despite only appearing in three movies (and he was only in The Mummy Returns for like three minutes), The Rock displays a razor-sharp sense of comedy. He’s also huge, likeable, and he can even emote well during smaller moments, not that The Rundown will stretch you as an actor. He’s also honed in excessive eyebrow arching.
Walken exists in a plane of brilliant weirdness that we simple human will never be able to coexist upon. His Hatcher is one mean villain who exploits indigenous workers, wears his pants up to his armpits, and says he put the heart in the darkness. Walken’s hysterical tooth fairy monologue is worth the price of admission alone.
Director Peter Berg (Very Bad Things) adds a delectable cartoonish flavor to the film. His action sequences pop with exaggerated energy and zestful humor, like when Travis and Beck roll down a hill for a near minute. This is everything an action film should be: lively, funny, with keen action sequences that are low on CGI but filled with characters we care about. The Rundown is the best summer film not released during the summer.
The Rundown is an adrenalized punch of fabulous action and hilarious banter. When youre not laughing and spilling your popcorn youll be sitting straight up to catch every lovely eyeful of spectacular action. Its a terrifically entertaining and fun flick. The Rock has arrived.
Nate’s Grade: A