Finally, The Rock has latched onto a movie stardom vehicle that doesn’t mask his natural charm and charisma in hair extensions and cheap Conan the Barbarian imitations.
His affable nature and gift for physical comedy, along with some thunderous, slickly filmed action, is what makes The Rundown stomp about to its own nutty rhythm. Unlike the abysmal The Scorpion King, it’s a movie that leaves you slaphappy, not slapping your forehead.
The Brahma Bull stars as Beck, a “retrieval expert” (read: bounty hunter) ordered to make one last bounty run on his employer’s son Travis. Needing to face the music after causing big trouble at home, Travis (Seann William Scott) is a Stanford dropout who has run off to the Amazon.
Just wanting to be a peaceful chef, Beck thinks it will be an easy retrieval. But Travis — and the entire village — is under the thumb of diamond-mining robber baron Hatcher (Christopher Walken). Because Travis has the map to a hidden treasure that could ruin Hatcher’s empire, Hatcher isn’t so willing to let him leave. Together the two evade Hatcher’s men and, indirectly, help with a rebel uprising against him.
An Indiana Jones movie made with the smash-mouth mentality of a WWE brawl, The Rundown is filled with sprawling brawls, but none better than Beck’s first meeting with the rebels. The brutal, vivid fight is filled with moments where people get hit so hard that you might utter something naughty.
And it gets points for flat-out weirdness, referencing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Dylan Thomas and the Tooth Fairy. It further benefits from Scott and Walken doing what they do best — wide-eyed schemer and squinty-eyed nut-job. In the conclusion, Walken does an Al Pacino rant better than Pacino does them these days.
Even Walken, though, plays straight man to the outright goofy storyline, which introduces its climactic street fight battle via a thick-accented pilot playing bagpipes. See? I did say weird, but fun.