Outside the Ring
The Rock and a Couple of His Early Flicks
The Rundown was a 2003 American action comedy directed by Peter Berg and starring Sean William Scott, Rosario Dawson, and Christopher Walken, as well as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It’s a highly entertaining film, full of action, laughs, and some solid acting. Obviously there’s Christopher Walken, an Academy Award winner, who put in a great performance. Everyone did, really, but this was the movie that, for me, proved The Rock could lead his own moving picture. Even Arnold would agree. There’s a quick scene in the beginning where The Governator himself makes a cameo, passing the proverbial torch to a new generation’s action star.
Dwayne would take that torch and run with it, appearing in 23 films from that point on, and starring in most. He’s had such massive successes as Fast Five, G.I Joe: Retaliation, Fast and Furious 6, and The Other Guys, while also skirting the lines of absolute failure with films like Tooth Fairy and Empire State. Speaking of The Tooth Fairy, did you know that was a starring vehicle originally written for Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the day? It makes sense. If you’ve seen the movie at all, you know it feels like something the studios put together to cash in on Arnold’s kid-cred after he made Kindergarten Cop.
Getting back on subject: The Rock and The Rundown. Even though the man has put out a vast assortment of work since the Peter Berg film hit theaters; this and The Rock’s next film are my two favorites of his. After The Rundown, came a remake of the film of the same name, Walking Tall. This was my first exposure to the story of Bufford Pusser, a man who saw corruption and picked up a big, wooden stick to fight it. The Rock’s remake doesn’t always follow the actual story to a T, but it has The Rock. Plus it has sexy ladies, action, drama, Johnny Knoxville in a solid performance, and one of the greatest character actors of our generation playing the villain in Neal McDonough.
These are only two of Dwayne Johnson’s many films that I’ve talked about. He is, far and away, the most successful Professional Wrestler to ever gamble on selecting a new career path. The Rock had a goal, and it was to become the biggest movie star in the world. In 2013, he officially accomplished that very feat, granting him the freedom to have the kind of career that allows him to do whatever he wants. He’s all over movies and TV now, hosting reality shows and appearing on other scripted ones. Next step: Oscar? That might be a bit much, but it’d be one hell of a sight to see The People’s Champion, The Rock, up on that stage accepting an Academy Award. Would he throw an arm up like he’s on a turnbuckle?
I imagine JR calling it, “By God! The People’s Champion is taking home Oscar gold! The era of The Brahma Bull has BE-GUN!”