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"The Rundown" Movie Review
The Rock Arrives in "The Rundown"


Seann William Scott and The Rock in "The Rundown."
©2003 Universal Pictures - All Rights Reserved


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The Rock emerges as a viable action movie star with his role as a bounty hunter on the verge of retirement in Peter Berg's action comedy "The Rundown." Expectations weren't exactly high after his starring turn in the critically panned prequel to "The Mummy," "The Scorpion King." But under Peter Berg's direction in "The Rundown," The Rock is able to show off a decent set of acting chops. Even more surprising is the fact that even when he's not kicking some bad guy's butt, he's still extremely believable and entertaining to watch. Believe it or not, after "The Rundown," you can now add drama and comedy to the list of genres The Rock is capable of tackling.

"The Rundown" follows Beck (The Rock), a guy who uses his brains and his brawn to full advantage in tracking down miscreants for money. In order to leave the world of bounty hunting behind, Beck agrees to one final job - tracking down his boss' son Travis (Seann William Scott), a wise-ass who's off in the Amazon jungle causing who knows what kind of trouble.

Beck travels to Brazil and meets up with Hatcher (Christopher Walken), the more than slightly unhinged ruler of a small village where Travis is holed up. Hatcher uses the town's natives as slave labor to work on his gold-mining enterprise, and rules the citizens with an iron fist, going as far as placing a fence around the entire city to closely monitor everyone's comings and goings. Beck has to talk his way in by first making a deal with Hatcher, which, being the more than slightly crazed man that he is, Hatcher immediately breaks, attacking Beck as he's taking Travis into custody. After showing Hatcher and his goons just how bad things can be when they take him on, Beck takes off to catch a plane, dragging his unwilling companion along for the ride.

None too happy about being bested by Beck, Hatcher sends his men out to hunt down the bounty hunter. It's up to Beck to protect Travis, flee from the bad guys, help out a gang of rebels, and bring his last catch back to the States to get his final financial reward. Along the way he must endure some sweet love from some vicious-looking monkeys, survive a spine-tingling fall down a mountainside, get tossed like a piece of fruit into some trees during one of the best choreographed fight scenes in years, AND maintain his composure as Travis does everything to thwart his progress.

The Rock displays a good sense of comedic timing, does fine in the dramatic sequences (few that there were), and as expected, seems like a seasoned pro pulling off the physically demanding stunts. He's got charisma and appears totally unselfconscious on screen. Simply put, he's a natural.

Best known for his role as Stifler in the “American Pie” movies, Seann William Scott lets his amiable personality show through playing opposite The Rock. Scott needed just this type of role to show it wasn't just the material he was given when playing Stifler - it was what he brought to the character.

The always impressive Rosario Dawson doesn't get to do as much as her male counterparts, however as Mariana, the tough female leader of a gang of rebels, she remains a strong presence. I was impressed the filmmakers didn't turn Dawson's character into the love interest and instead allowed her character to remain an independent and determined individual. The filmmakers had the beautiful Rosario Dawson in a movie surrounded by good-looking men and yet they didn't go down the path of throwing in a romantic angle. Congratulations on a great decision.

I'd like to see The Rock and Seann William Scott team up for a sequel or two. These two are so enjoyable to watch, they deserve a chance to join director Peter Berg for another romp in the jungle or wherever.

The lowdown on "The Rundown" is that it's a fast-paced, hilarious wild ride of an adventure. Sporting a plot that's more fitting of a summertime big action/big comedy release, “The Rundown” is a comedic tour-de-force loaded with first-rate performances.

GRADE: B+

“The Rundown” was directed by Peter Berg and is rated PG-13 for adventure violence and some crude dialogue.

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