I don’t know anything about Tefo M Moeti other than he’s from Botswana, he really digs this project and contacted me online, he likes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and he really knows his comic book lore. (Hooray Facebook!) Here, he takes a second look at The Rundown, on which we are absolutely in agreement.

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Plot Outline

Beck (Dwayne Johnson) is a pretty tough bounty hunter whose propensities land him in some pretty tough situations. In which case he simply offers two choices: Option A where you simply do as he says and you head home to your family as it last saw you…and then there’s…well…Option B. The latter is a little less conventional and will most probably leave you a little less recognizable for a while. Whatever one decides, no matter how defiant, Beck ALWAYS gets what he came for. But his greatest desire is to one day own a restaurant. His impassioned aspiration finally surfaces in the realm of possibility when the gangster he consistently works for  offers him the means to fulfill if he travels to Brazil to successfully retrieve what will perhaps be his most elusive package – his client’s son, Travis (Played by Sean William Scott).

Shortly after his arrival in a remote mining town deep within the jungles of Brazil, Beck finds and apprehends Travis but runs into trouble with the local town’s oppressor Hatcher (Christopher Walken). A wild goose chase then ensues that involves greed, revenge, deadly terrain, strange hallucinogenic fruits, really horny primates and so much more!

Review

With the critically subpar yet financially successful film The Scorpion King under his belt, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was then still a rising entity in the world of film, and was intent on further exploring the industry that would inevitably be his main area of focus. Unsatisfied with his previous film, a friend and I wanted to see how he would fair in another, more modern project – thus our trip to the local theatre. And unlike SK, this film was surprisingly one of the best films of that year. It was an incredibly hilarious, witty and weighted piece of entertainment. We had a fabulous time watching it. I remember Ewen Bremner limping into the seemingly deserted town just before the memorable stampede scene, screaming his usual nonsensical dribble in his thick Scottish accent and then yells, “BOOM SHAKALAKA!!” That phrase was just so random and unrelated to anything he said before it (then again nothing he says correlates with the previous statement) but still, it was just spectacular. Not really sure if he was the architect of it but he popularized it among kids at the time. We’d shout that just before we pounced on someone or did something really random and stupid. It was still etched at the back of my mind even when I asked to review the film.

So then I watched it again, ten years later as 20-something-year-old last week. On watching it, did it have the same effect on me it did when I was still in my adolescence? Better! I recalled everything, from the trailers before it, to the crowd’s reaction when Beck came out of that meditative trance as a ballistic trigger-happy marksman of the highest order. The film has aged quite well after a whole decade. As simple as the plot was laid out, its originality was unprecedented! It actually felt as fresh as it was upon its release. This, unlike Johnson’s movie before it, is rich in so many aspects. His acting had matured DRASTICALLY with added layers of emotion to his onscreen character. The complexity of his personality made him worth the watch. Beck’s dilemmas, his goals, his values, his moral conduct made him more accessible through Johnson’s portrayal. The morality of his character reminds of such legendary characters as Wyatt Earp; his temporary cessation of prior settled objectives/ethics in order to mitigate salient hostilities around him is quality nearing depletion in modern day society. We are so deeply immersed in our drone like day-to-day lives that we forget to stop for a moment and be human. To look around and offer help where its need is more than evident. Sadly moving on, this was just that character that world really needs. And Dwayne understood it too well. Perhaps he just needed time to harness the art of acting.

Or maybe he just needed the right co-star to help him relax, unwind and let loose of his rigid demeanor; the right guy to help him have fun in front of the camera. And if it was the latter, Sean William Scott was undoubtedly the right man for the job. He was irrevocably the most logical choice. Just look at him, he is the perfect guy to ease up a raw, tough, uptight, bull-headed and rigid wrestler that doesn’t know much about giving a relaxed but fun performance in an action-comedy! Although, he is now often typecast as an annoying bumhole that usually says nothing but masturbatory self-serving non-logic and knows not when to pipe it down, he equally did an amazing job in helping carry this film. The chemistry between them was just honest and did not seem forced or two-dimensional at all. Scott is officially one of the rarest vermin one would have a splendid time tracking across no man’s land, I figure.

The fight scenes were also something to be noted. They were well choreographed and really engaging.   Dwayne borrowed heavily from his in-ring arsenal in this film, making it more practical for someone his size. Though I will concede that as good as he is as a fighter he was out-classed by the little Brazilian men that Scott’s character set on him for a while. The fury that burned within them converted into fast, fluid and graceful movements. It was just mesmerizing…Jesus wept! They weren’t even Chinese!

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But the best part of this film definitely had to be Christopher Walken as Hatcher. He was the cherry on top. Let’s be honest, you know you just cannot get enough of his voice and unusual accent no matter which side he’s on. He definitely steals the show from any poor soul that dares share screen time with him!

I have seen all of The Rock’s films right up to Fast 6, but this performance is by far the one that stands out as the crown jewel of his portfolio, in my honest opinion. I mean it had its flaws and one of them was Rosario Dawson…or at least her character. She’s really beautiful and smart as an actress but her performance didn’t add much to the film. The writers made her try so hard to be depressed that she was so void and emotionless. I guess she was just too dramatic to mellow into the atmosphere Scott and Johnson brought on…oh well, you win some and you lose some, I guess.

All in all, this was a real treat!

Free-Floating Thoughts

I am legitimately safe in believing that no creature in the known universe can match a baboon’s sexual mania!

For a man who hates guns, BECK WAS OFF THE CHAIN when he woke from his little nap and raised hell with those two firearms in the climax. Now, I have seen gun tricks in films and video games alike but that is probably the most incredible yet grossly underrated of them all.

What is it with Travis’ thunder and lightning? He looks like he’s preparing to perform some kind of ancient voodoo rain dance!  And since when does thunder sound like a cockerel??

You know, come to think of it; Sean William Scott really does “look like a weasel” Just look closely when he smiles. I have a feeling that that description was not exactly scripted but rather added on as a tongue lash by Johnson.

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