The Rundown is the movie that was supposed to make a guy named The Rock the next big thing in action movies. Even Arnold walks past him in the opening scene to pass down the torch to him. To be honest he’s got a lot working form him, except for one thing: timing. It was released in 2003 and at that time people wanted more from a movie than some muscular guy, a wrestler no less, being this unstoppable one man army. They 80’s have been long gone and so was the thirst of the general public for that kind of entertainment. To give a movie like this an $85,000,000 budget wasn’t the wisest of choices and so it became a flop. An undeserved flop because in my humble opinion The Rundown is a really entertaining movie.
The Rock is Beck, a retrieval expert for a mobster. He wants to get out of the business, but the mob-boss is reluctant to let him go and offers him a deal: if he can retrieve his son Travis (Seann William Scott) from the Amazon he can go and open up the restaurant he wants so badly. In Brazil Beck finds Travis pretty quickly, but not only is he reluctant to go home, a ruthless slave driving operator of a local mine named Hatcher (Christopher Walken) wants Travis to help him locate a priceless artifact rumored to be somewhere in the jungle.
While it may have been a failure at the box-office, The Rundown is a high paced fun action movie which is suited to the physical qualities of The Rock. With the aid of extensive choreography, C.G.I. and wires the fight scenes are energetic and wild right from the start as the opening scene first plays him as somewhat of a wuss, but once an arrogant football player with debts refuses to cooperate the turntables start flying in slow-motion to the camera. We’ve seen this many times over the past few years, but I can’t remember a simple action movie doing this stuff before. From there on it’s a variety of cool action scenes as Beck takes on Hatcher’s goons in a bar fight and a couple of rebels practicing Capoeira. All while dragging along Travis who will do everything to sabotage Beck’s attempts to take him home.
The Rock has a certain charisma making him an ideal leading man for this type of movie. The supporting cast consist of Rosario Dawson, here to supply the eye-candy and veteran villain actor Christopher Walken who does his usual Walken schtick which will never become tiresome. Who is tiresome however, is Seann William Scott. Probably one of the most annoying actors ever to grace the screen. I’ll have to credit to him being bearable in the first two American Pie movies due to the good writing, because in 9 out of 10 movies he basically sucks. There will be a day in time that we will look back on the early 00’s and think “how on earth did people actually found this guy funny”. As Travis he’s the weak link of the cast occasionally using an annoying comedy routine in fight scenes where he calls his limbs thunder and lightning. It’s never funny, but apparently the director thought it was because it was improvised by Scott and left in.
In terms of plot The Rundown is a bit sloppy. It tries to combine several genres into one hoping to create a fresh take on things. The posters made for this movie pretty much say it all: one is a poster in the vein of Indiana Jones with the italic red/yellow letters, the artifact and a couple of floating heads, the other is The Rock holding a rifle and looking tough. The Rundown is 50% Commando and 50% Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Because of this it’s a movie that actually has two Mac-Guffins: First Travis who all the people are after and later on the artifact known as Gato.
The Rundown is a fun movie with some cool action scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed it despite the presence of Seann William Scott. When you think of it: the movie is about The Rock finding Seann William Scott. Should Seann William Scott ever go missing in real-life, I hope nobody will try to find him. Life shouldn’t always imitate art.