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The Rundown

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: The Rundown

Starring: The Rock, Seann W. Scott
Director: Peter Berg
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: September 2003
Genres: Action, Comedy


*Also starring: Ewen Bremner, Rosario Dawson, Jonathan Gries, Stephen Bishop, Christopher Walken, Micki Duran, Nina Kaczorowski



Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

THE ROCK AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, which is being marketed and released as THE RUNDOWN, is a hilarious action picture, directed with his signature irreverence by VERY BAD THINGS's Peter Berg.

In the first movie in which The Rock proves that he can act, he plays Beck, a "retrieval expert," i.e., a strong-arm collection agent. In order to raise the quarter of a million dollars that he needs to quit the business and start a restaurant, he agrees to go deep into the Amazon jungle to fetch a lad named Travis (Seann William Scott) and bring him home to his father. (Before Beck leaves L.A., watch for the Governator's cameo appearance.) Once in Brazil, Beck finds that Travis is busying trying to make his fortune by locating a priceless artifact.

The Rock proves quite convincing as a vulnerable and yet ultimately invincible action hero. When he gets hurt, which is often, he manages to make you really feel his pain. The high-energy picture has some of the best martial arts and stunt work this side of a Jackie Chan movie. And, like Chan's kung fu, the fighting here is intense and intensely funny. Even Scott is impressive as an overconfident fighter who likes to take on the big guy who is supposed to bring him back. Needless to say, Scott gets creamed.

The Rock and Scott are an improbable but very effective and humorous team, bickering and fighting as they go. Some of their simple moments together are their best. When a tied-up Travis needs to urinate, he calls on Beck to help him out with the zipper. Both of the men turn this into a cute bit of physical comedy.

The Rock manages to make the most of his lines. The movie's on-going joke is that Beck keeps offering "option A or option B" to people. Option A is basically doing what he wants and not getting hurt, whereas option B is "pretty much the opposite."

Always wonderful Christopher Walken plays Hatcher, the evil owner of a huge mine employing thousand of locals at slave wages for slave work. Walken's deadpan humor serves as the script's delicious punctuation. "There's been a slight change in the narration -- an unexpected twist," Hatcher says slowly and with a twinkle in his eye to Beck, when Hatcher and his well-armed bad boys plan on relieving Beck of his prisoner, Travis.

Take option A. Resist any reservation you might have about The Rock after THE SCORPION KING. He and Scott are super, and Berg sets up some great action sequences. It's a fun film.

THE RUNDOWN runs 1:44. The film is rated PG-13 for "adventure violence and some crude dialogue" and would be acceptable for kids around 10 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 14, gave it *** 1/2, saying The Rock and Scott had great chemistry together. He liked all the male leads a lot, but said that Rosario Dawson, as a leader of the rebels, didn't add much. He thought the action was outrageously fun, and he liked some of the wrestling-based moves.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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