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The Rundown

The Rundown has everything that you want in an action flick: a buff leading man, a funny sidekick, a beautiful girl, and Christopher Walken. It even has a priceless artifact and face-humping monkeys. What more could you want?

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as Beck, a bounty hunter who wants out of the game. His final job is to track down his boss’s son Travis (Seann William Scott). Travis has been hiding in the jungle searching for a priceless artifact known as the Gato. Travis wants the Gato for fame and glory, but he’s not the only one who wants it. A rebel named Mariana (Rosario Dawson) wants it to save her people and Christopher Walken wants it because he’s the bad guy.

Beck just wants to get Travis and go home. But everybody else wants the Gato and that’s what gets the plot going. Beck and Travis tromp around the jungle looking for the Gato, trying to avoid Christopher Walken’s henchmen, angry rebels, and horny monkeys. There are lots of cool fight scenes all leading up to a fierce battle at the end.

This is a really fun movie. The editing is fast and fierce and never boring. There’s a quick cameo by Schwarzenegger passing the action hero torch to The Rock. The Rock does a good job. Most action stars are just big and buff and don’t talk much. The Rock kicks ass and can carry a conversation. This is basically a buddy flick and it wouldn’t work if Beck and Travis didn’t have any chemistry. Seann William Scott is pretty funny as usual if you like his cocky/smug style of humor. Christopher Walken has a delicious rant about the Tooth Fairy: “Do you understand the CONCEPT of the Tooth Fairy?!?” Anything he does is golden. Rosario Dawson is hot but her character doesn’t get naked and that’s a shame.

Despite the lack of nudity, The Rundown is still a great action movie. Director Peter Berg balances humor with action and created a movie that deserves more recognition. It’s easily one of The Rock’s best movies (yes, even better than The Scorpion King or Escape to Witch Mountain). Watch it. You’ll probably like it.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Rock (film, not an actual rock)

Michael Bay makes crazy blockbusters like Transformers and Bad Boys. His whole theory about filmmaking is if you have lots of explosions and loud noises, no one will realize that the movie sucks. The Rock is a perfect example of this style of shoddy filmmaking. If you only saw one movie during the summer of 1996, it was probably Independence Day. If you saw two movies, this might have been one of them.

A group of rogue Force Recon Marines lead by Brigadier General Frank Hummel (Ed Harris) take control of a bunch of  chemical weapons, get themselves some hostages, and threaten to attack San Francisco unless the US government pays a ransom to the families of deceased Force Recon Marines that died in action and were buried without honor or recognition. Nicholas Cage plays Dr. Stanley Goodspeed, a chemical weapons specialist with the FBI. He gets called in for his expertise, despite his lack of work in the field.

The FBI must sneak onto Alcatraz in order to free the hostages, stop the rogue Marines, and save San Francisco. The only one who can help them sneak into the Rock is the only one who successfully escaped it, a former spy named John Mason (Sean Connery). Mason is an unofficial prisoner, on paper he doesn’t exist. So naturally he’s not too keen to help the FBI.

There’s a lot of bullshit that happens in the movie. There’s a pretty ridiculous car chase through the SF streets involving a Hummer and a Ferrari. There’s a bunch of revelations, like the villain is not actually bad, he just wants what he deserves. You sympathize for him, he’s a victim of an uncaring government, just like John Mason.

A lot of stuff happens. I could tell you about all the little plot developments, but I’m lazy and don’t want to. Shit happens, shit gets resolved, and things blow up, but San Francisco doesn’t.

Nicholas Cage won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Leaving Las Vegas. He followed that amazing performance by starring in The Rock, Con Air and Face/Off. That’s an interesting career choice, you win the highest award for your work and celebrate by becoming a parody of yourself. Nick Cage and Cuba Gooding, Jr. should go bowling together.

Nicholas Cage used to be an actor. Sometimes he still does act. But in most of his movies he’s just a performer. This is the start of his paycheck movies, where he will do whatever project for the money. Sean Connery has a cool voice and can get away with saying all kinds of mediocre shit that sounds awesome because of his crazy accent. Ed Harris a good actor, but this is kind of a waste of his talent.

The Rock is not a bad movie. It’s not a good movie. It’s just a movie with explosions and actors reciting dialog. There’s no reason to see this movie if you haven’t yet.

Critically Rated at 10/17

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