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Guilty Pleasures

The Rundown 


Directed by: Peter Berg

Written by: R.J. Stewart & James Vanderbilt

Main Cast:
The Rock - Beck 
Seann William Scott - Travis 
Rosario Dawson - Mariana 
Christopher Walken - Hatcher 
Ewen Bremner - Declan 
Jon Gries - Harvey 
William Lucking - Walker 
Ernie Reyes Jr. - Manito 
Stuart F. Wilson - Swenson 
Stuart Wilson - Swenson 
Dennis Keiffer - Naylor 
Garrett Warren - Henshaw 
Toby Holguin - Head Indian Tracker 
Paul Power - Martin 
Stephen Bishop - Knappmiller

Rated PG-13  

To sum up: The Rock plays a Bounty Hunter who wants to be a chef with his own restaurant in a film that's a combination of 3 parts "Romancing the Stone", one part "Midnight Run", with just a splash of "Indiana Jones".  

     The best thing about this film is The Rock, the famous pro wrestler that's trying to craft a career in the movies. Now I'm not saying that he gives a stunning, virtuoso performance or anything like that. What I will say is that he comes up with a nice, likeable hero for this film.  He plays a character named Beck, a bounty hunter who is sick of his job, and just wants to cash out from his boss and pursue his dream of owning his own restaurant. He's great at busting heads and you know when he dives into the action, he'll be very good at it. 
     But this film gives our hero some interesting twists so he doesn't come across as a soulless killer. One is that he is a cook. While waiting to get access to a party where one of his bounties is hanging out, Beck is sitting in his car and listening to cooking tips on the radio. Not many action stars that would rather cook. A second twist is that most of his action centers around his creatively disarming his opponents and instead of using said guns he casts them aside. Turns out he doesn't like guns. So what we have here is a kinder, gentler action hero. One that's a bit more kid friendly than say Arnold Schwarzenegger, who the Rock has been compared to. Finally, he would rather avoid fights; instead giving potential opponents options A or B. Naturally, no one picks A, the easier of the two, and very quickly learn to regret it.

     In short, the only way Beck is going to get out of his contract is to go into the South American jungles and get his boss's son, Travis (Seann William Scott). Travis, as played by Scott, is a smart mouth, slick talking, screw-up of a guy. You can be certain that there will be a lot of whiny verbal sparring when he and Beck meet. Though on the run for sleeping with the wrong girl and angering the wrong people, which is why daddy wants him, he claims that he is really searching for a lost, priceless artifact. 

     The other two leads are comprised of Hatcher (Christopher Walken) and Mariana (Rosario Dawson). Hatcher is the local boss who owns the town, where everybody there exists to slave away for gold in his mines. When he hears that Travis may know where this artifact is, he steps in to get it for himself. Walken plays Hatcher with the usual eccentric blustering that he has been doing lately. In short he plays Walken. With his tendencies towards meaningless speeches and occasional asides, it will be up to the audience whether this is annoying or not.

     Mariana is the local bartender who is more than she appears. It's a pretty bland role and though Dawson performs adequately at it, there's not much there to make it memorable. She's the one with the tools to help Travis find his little treasure and, of course, she wants a cut.

     The Rundown is not a bad movie. It's just not particularly good. Though it has some action to occupy the eyes, it isn't that thrilling and much of it gravitates towards the ridiculous when people survive crashes and falls that should kill, or at the very least cripple them.

     It's an action film that is clearly reminiscent of "Romancing the Stone" in it's tone. For the most part, it's pretty lighthearted and has a few laughs as Beck and Travis bicker and argue and the audience is supposed to enjoy this buddy-picture-like banter. I heard some laughs from the crowd that I saw it with but it was nothing that special.

      Run this one down on video.

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