Well, I for one was pleasantly surprised by this action/adventure flick. Truth be told I like Seann William Scott, Christopher Walken, Ewen Bremner, and Rosario Dawson, who all have roles, but it was The Rock (the films main character), who is surprisingly charming and amusing and - lest I forget - the action star and highlight of this film. Sure, if you were already a fan of his pro wrestling star status, you would buy this DVD anyway, but I only knew him from the recent The Mummy movies, where I wasn't overly impressed with his CGI-assisted Scorpion King character. So really, it was kind of a first meeting for us.
The plot is fairly straightforward: Beck (the Rock) has to find Travis in the Amazon jungles and return him to Los Angeles. It¡¯s like the late 80¡¯s DeNiro movie Midnight Run in this way. Given that it takes place in the Amazon and Travis is seeking an ancient treasure, it also plays a bit like an Indiana Jones instalment.
Christopher Walken plays a bad guy again ¨C no surprise there, and he seems to relish the lines he¡¯s been given. Seann William Scott buffed up for this role, but he retains his smart-ass humour from the American Pie movies, which he is most known for. Rosario Dawson is probably one of the better up-and-comer actresses, and though she looks great and acts well in this, I really was annoyed by her awful attempt at the Brazilian Portuguese accent - sounding a bit Russian, Jamaican, German etc at times. But I¡¯m nitpicking here, right? Ewen Bremner (best known from Trainspotting) is on the other side of the spectrum being (intentionally) fairly difficult to understand with his thick Scottish accent.
Last but not least, The Rock is just oh-so cool and yet he plays his role straight and ¡®real¡¯. Despite the ¡°Rock¡± name, you don¡¯t feel like you¡¯re watching the typical action star (Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Vin Diesel), who is always posing or looking mean with squinty eyes. Rock actually acts a lot more natural than most actors in general; in the DVD commentary he's modest, amusingly self-deprecating, and seems at ease with himself, and those are qualities that are rare in Hollywood, let alone most people you meet. Director Peter Berg¡¯s commentary is only bearable because he has Rock to play against. Berg also oozes a bit too much for Rosario Dawson at times. It¡¯s almost embarrassing to listen to.
Harry Gregson-Williams, who is director Tony Scott¡¯s loyal composer, does the score for The Rundown and it is indeed great, mixing the right amount of energy into what¡¯s required to pace an action movie, but also adding lots of flavour appropriate with the Amazon/Brazil reference.
There are the usual plot holes and at times weird and typically American kind of humour attached to violence (¡°you tried to shoot me¡± ha, ha, ha) as well as the predictable kind of action movie: will-you-choose-to-free-the-slaves-or-get-rich? life altering decisions to make¡like we can¡¯t guess the ending. The running joke ¡°Option A, Option B¡± is also used one too many times for my liking.
However, for an action/adventure movie, The Rundown is really funny and mostly well-acted. It also sounds and looks good ¨C visually ¨C and most of the effects and stunts are fun to see. The DVD extras aren't exhaustive, but The Rock and cast look like they had fun on the shoot. I¡¯ve watched this DVD a few times now, and it just feels like a different take on a common theme, and a lot of that comes down to the play between the Beck and Travis characters (Rock & Sean). Good fun.