Review: “The Rundown”

For some reason this very B-grade action adventure movie got a lot of love from critics in its post-Summer slot, but audiences seemed to be not so engaged by it at the box-office. I have to side with the audience on this one, ok there’s some good stuff early on in ‘Rundown’ but ultimately this pale testosterone-fuelled “Romancing the Stone” clone is a disappointment and almost never succeeds in overcoming its hokey tone.

The failure doesn’t lie in the Rock though, the man delivering an interesting mix of both charisma and strength – the man seems to be able to handle both rough action and off-the-wall comedy with ease, the two combined he’s also pretty good at too (certainly more than the likes of Seagal or Stallone). Rosario Dawson is also a real surprise as the gruff but wise female lead, and is able to overcome her at times preachy dialogue and make it quite convincing and palatable.

Their support however ain’t so great, Scott’s reversion to annoying adolescent persona in “American Wedding” has continued here with his character more insipid than anything else. He and Rock do play well off each other but the gags almost all fall flat. Walken proves a little better than his woeful turn in “Kangaroo Jack” but this is still a walkthrough for him.

Director Peter Berg delivers a heady mix of explosive Western shootouts, jungle antics, violent slapstick and some off-kilter gags. Its all very old and tired ground done way better by many films in the past, yet there are times when this baby has a few moments. Arnie’s clever cameo at the start and the whole nightclub fight is fun, some of the action does effectively work (like the fight with the mini-native) and the odd gag sequence (such as Scott’s attempt to pee) hits its mark. Its still not enough though – its not a bad ‘Rock’ movie but its certainly no breakthrough vehicle.