The Rundown (2003)


I’d Offer You a Beer, But It Seems You Blew Up My Bar.

The first day of my challenge leading up to my birthday gets things kicked off with a bang.  I’ve picked my favorite movie in the action genre.  There are a few things I’d like to make clear when it comes to these selections.  First, I’m not saying that today’s movie is the hands down best action movie ever made.  I’m saying it’s my favorite.  It’s my birthday and I’ll review what I want to!  Second, it also had to be a movie that I haven’t already reviewed because it wouldn’t really count as one a day if I just copied and pasted a previous review.  And third, I didn’t want them to cross categories.  Also, I kind of just looked through my DVD’s and grabbed any candidates that occurred to me.  So yeah, I may have forgotten about movies like Terminator 2 and Predator, but I’m comfortable with the decision I made.  Like I said before, it’s not necessarily the best action movie, but certainly a favorite of mine.  And so, I bring you my review of The Rundown, written by James Vanderbilt and R.J. Stewart, directed by Peter Berg, and starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Seann William Scott, Christopher Walken, Rosario Dawson, William Lucking, Ewen Bremner, Ernie Reyes Jr., and Jon Gries.

Beck (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a retrieval expert who is pretty damned good at what he does, even though he’s not that into his profession.  He only does it to pay off a debt that he owes his boss, Billy Walker (William Lucking) and to get enough money to open his own restaurant.  Billy offers Beck one more job to clear his debt and earn enough money to achieve his goal.  That job: go to South America and retrieve Billy’s son, Travis (Seann William Scott), who is down there searching for a golden artifact called “el Gato Diablo”.  Beck catches a ride with an eccentric pilot named Declan (Ewen Bremner) and starts his search.  Beck’s even kind enough to pay a visit (and a lot of money) to the corrupt de facto owner of the town, Cornelius Bernard Hatcher (Christopher Walken), to make sure he’s not stepping on any toes.  He finds Travis at a bar owned by Mariana (Rosario Dawson), but he also finds trouble when Hatcher decides that Travis was close to finding the Gato and he no longer feels like Beck should take him.

I guess this contest is not going to be bringing any surprises when it comes to my opinion, so the fun will have to lie in the justification.  I love this movie.  I will grant the conceit that things in this movie have been done before, and the movie also seems disinterested in surprising you along the way.  What it wants is fun, and it delivers that throughout.  But, as always, we’ll focus on story first.  The basic idea of the story is a combination of various things that have been done many times in the past.  It’s a bounty hunter movie, it’s a rebellion against oppressive forces movie, it’s a buddy picture, and it’s even kind of a love story that they start and don’t finish.  In fact, the greater majority of the buddy picture parts of this movie seemed straight out of my dim recollection of the Damon Wayans/Adam Sandler movie Bulletproof; a movie that I kind of want to watch now that I’ve thought about it.  But that will have to wait until after the contest is finished.  But we already know that it’s the journey and not the destination, and the journey is very well done.  Loads of good action, great scenery to put around it, and some clever dialogue to boot.  When Beck was talking to his boss in the beginning about not wanting to get the money from the starting lineup of a football team, not because he’s worried about injury for himself but because he’s worried that he’ll hurt them and “they have a good chance of repeating”, it’s funny and lets us know that this guy is a badass.  A good amount of the funny that came from Travis seemed like it was improvised.  Seann William Scott talked a lot, but a decent enough portion was funny.  Calling Beck “Wolfgang Stuck” amused me.  I also liked when he played the rebels against Beck.  The baboons humping Beck’s face was a little low-brow, but that’s not to say I didn’t think it was funny.  I felt like they could’ve tried harder with the rebels.  They seemed to try to rush us to caring about them with a quick conversation and the handing over of a necklace, but we didn’t have enough time to get to know them to actually care about what would happen to them.

I loved the action in this movie.  On occasion, I’d say I’ve had my fill of shootouts in movies.  They’re usually not that visually interesting.  I get the feeling that Peter Berg agrees with me to some degree because he made his main character refuse to use guns.  People would pull guns, but he’d quickly disarm them and get to the beatings.  And who would’ve known that a fight with “Get Your Freak On” by Missy Elliot playing in the background would work?  Not me before this movie did it, I’ll tell you that much.  But Beck was so against using guns that he found other creative ways to use guns.  The one I liked the most was when he tripped Travis by popping the clip out of the gun, causing it to slide across the floor and underneath his foot, causing him to fall on his ass.  There are also two possible outcomes to your main character having an aversion to guns.  The first one is that he’ll have a sappy, mopey story about how a gun killed his wife or some shit, and the second is that he’ll pick up guns and be epic with them.  Thankfully, they chose the latter.  We know it’s coming, but he uses those guns in such awesome and creative ways – ways I’ve never seen guns used before or after – that I don’t give a damn.  Some of the things that Beck does in the movie border on superhuman, but I actually believe it from the Rock.

I loved every single performance in this movie.  For someone with a less than admirable job, the Rock always came off as extra charming. This first occurred to me when he was accidentally getting the autograph from the quarterback in the beginning of the movie.  He had such happiness on his face, like a child getting an autograph from Mickey Mouse.  He doesn’t keep that innocence for long because it quickly becomes time to beat some ass.  For some reason, the Rock is really good at fake fighting.  I can’t figure it out.  Probably just a natural gift.  Seann William Scott was playing a lot more for comedy.  He wasn’t always funny, maybe landing on about 70% of the random things he said, but he was still good.  What helped it more was that he and the Rock had a great chemistry that made all of their parts together that much better.  Christopher Walken is fantastic in this movie.  He’s definitely funny, especially coming from someone who knew he was watching a movie and that this character wasn’t real.  But, even though he was funny, I get the feeling that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere around that character if he was real.  He pulled off intimidation very well.  But it’s Christopher Walken.  What do you expect?  I get the feeling that Rosario Dawson wasn’t really trying to be sexy at all in this movie.  Thankfully, she has no say in the matter.  You’re gonna be sexy and you’re gonna like it, missy!  She also had a great character.  She was also very charming and certainly no damsel in distress.  Ewen Bremner was the comic relief character and you know what I generally say about comic relief people: only this guy has done it without annoying me that I can presently think of.  His big joke was mainly his super thick accent, but he worked it well.

I love the Rundown and I don’t care who knows it.  This is one of the best, and most fun, action movies that I can think of.  The story is basic, unsurprising, and it’s been done before, but some great writing, fantastic action, and outstanding performances elevate it to be one of my favorite action movies ever.  Of course you should watch this movie!  You should own this movie!  And you should fuck yourself if you disagree with me.  The Rundown gets “Establish dominance!  Establish dominance!” out of “Have fun.”

Congratulations goes to my friend Eric for being the one who finally guessed the movie.  And a special shout out goes to Chris and Fabio for trying so hard.

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

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2 responses to “The Rundown (2003)

    • I admit there are better action movies, but this was the most fun one that I could think of and I prefer fun ones. T2 isn’t fun, but it’s really good. And if it’s too obvious then people can get the movie in like 2 guesses. Just like Airplane!. That is also less fun.

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