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The Rundown

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 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

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Harvey Karten review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie review
3.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
4.  Susan Granger read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Harvey Karten
2½ stars out of 4

Life follows art in one way that most viewers of "The Rundown" are probably not aware. While the production team scouted in and about the Brazilian Amazon city of Manaus, they were held up by armed bandits, lost their money and cameras and equipment, and could have lost their lives if the local guides did not successfully plead for the safe release of the group. In Peter Berg's movie, shot in Hawaii and written by R.J. Stewart and James Vanderbilt from a story by R.J. Stewart, a father offers a tidy sum a ransom, if you will to a tough guy with an interest in Italian cooking. "Bring back my son from the Amazon jungles of Brazil," he suggests, "and I'll ove look your debt to me, give you a restaurant, and throw in "250 large." That could buy quite a few cruzeiros, money that Beck (The Rock) could use, though he discovers that the young man who is the object of the search, Travis (Seann William Scott), is out to find a treasure worth quite a bit more. In a story that could have been inspired by the Indiana Jones sub-genre, Travis seeks a treasure which in some mysterious way not precisely explained, would free the Indians from servitude to the mines owned by the imperialistic Hatcher (Christopher Walken).

Taking the final leg of his trip in a one-engine plane run by Declan (Ewen Bremner from "Trainspotting"), Beck finds the kid easily enough, but handcuffing him and ordering him into a truck that would lead to the runway and a return to the States is not so easy. Travis does not want to return nor should he be forced to, considering that he is not a minor subject to his dad's rule nor is Hatcher willing to release the lad from the area given the boy's knowledge of the hidden treasure that Hatcher could fence for millions.

Many of the adventures that the two run into on their way north include conflicts with their human enemies, with hostile monkeys baring animatronic teeth, and most of all with nature in the form of explosive methane gas, landslides, and water. A good deal of the picture is taken up with fights usually won by Beck, including the night-club knocking out of an entire pro football defensive line which came to the defense of a fellow who is owed a gambling debt, a setback in which Beck is knocked out not by people but by a fruit offered to him by the local barkeep, Mariana (Rosario Dawson), and a humiliating series of knockdowns at the hands and feet of an Indian kick- boxer who barely comes up to Beck's chest and tips the scales at maybe half of what The Rock might weigh.

The highlight, a expected, is Sean William Scott in the role of Travis, a performance not entirely different from his wise-ass guise in the American Pie trilogy though in the jungles he has a four-day beard which seems not to grow even while handcuffed and presumably unable to use a razor. The movie sticks to the summer formula, coming alive principally when Scott issues his bon mots though of less interest during the dizzying fast-editing so endemic to films involving hard physical conflict.

Copyright 2003 Harvey Karten

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