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 you’re not laughing and spilling your popcorn you’ll be sitting straight up to catch every lovely eyeful of spectacular action. It’s a terrifically entertaining and fun flick. The Rock has arrived.

Nate’s Grade: A

About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on September 25, 2003, in 2003 Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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