Caesar's Review of The Rundown
Some of the most popular action films of the 1980s were the ones with the main star saying very little words, but racking up a high kill count. Needless to say the genre repeated itself many time with this concept and audiences grew tire of such films. The Rundown has the feels of an 80s action flick with some of the same problems, but does get plenty of things right that makes it a surprisingly entertaining adventure.
The Rundown follows a tough aspiring chef is hired to bring home a mobster's son from the Amazon but becomes involved in the fight against an oppressive town operator and the search for a legendary treasure. The plot is both smart and dumb. Smart in the way that the setup offers opportunity for many comedic moments and the premise itself is basically a setup for our hero to unleash some carnage. The film appropriately never tries to be more than what it actually is making its straightforward approach a plus. The protagonist is given some dimensions and surprisingly so do some of the other heroes that it might catch some off guard that the film develops them as much as it does. Heck, you don't even need to turn your brain off to enjoy it. As for the dumber aspect it retains some elements that audiences expect from an action film. The one liners that don't always click, the underdeveloped villain, the hero who's seen too many things and been through too many situations he'd like to forget, and the many plot conveniences. It's also not a very memorable film which despite doing most things right doesn't stand out in any way. If you could get past some of the more cliche element of the story you'll find a film that puts the characters at the center of the film over the action.
Dwayne Johnson obviously has the physical stature for an action hero, but more so with his charisma. Sure audiences would immediately like to see Johnson beat up some baddies, but he does need to act more so than kill for the majority of his screen time. His over-the-top persona and expert comedic timing ends up making him likable. A natural fit in the hero role, but rather average in acting. Sean William Scott provides a good comic partner for Johnson, even providing colour commentary during some fight scenes. Christopher Walken hams it up as a cardboard cutout of a cardboard villain. Even if Walken role was written better his lack of screen time makes the absence of a true villain noticeable. Also, Walken doesn't look very intimidating when we have Dwyane Johnson standing tall above him. The action scenes are great stuff. The fight scenes include good wire-work, carefully choreographed fight scenes, a couple of gunfight into the mix given them an old fashioned feel to them.
The Rundown won't change your mind on the action genre, but it's a blast to watch. A good plot, great action scenes, and the charismatic Dwayne Johnson in the leading role makes this fitting pick for any night you want a action blockbuster without the compensating your brain.