The Rundown Movie Review

The dentist responsible for maintaining The Rundown cast's teeth deserves an Academy Award. Leading man The Rock's flashy grin steals the spotlight from his weight room-generated physique. Seann William Scott must floss three times a day to maintain his dazzling smile. Even Rosario Dawson, playing the leader of rebel guerilla troops, seems to benefit from a tremendous dental plan.

Judging from the amount of time I spent analyzing molars and fillings, you can imagine how exciting I found the action on screen. The Rundown is yet another paint-by-numbers buddy comedy tailor-made for the former wrestler's brawny talents. The story follows bounty hunter Beck (The Rock) into the Amazon on the trail of Travis (Scott), an amateur archeologist and the wayward son of Beck's seedy boss. Travis seeks The Gatto, a solid gold relic reportedly worth millions, and he's racing wealthy land tycoon Hatcher (Christopher Walken) and gorgeous rebel leader Mariana (Dawson) to the loot.

The finer points of this noisy, repetitive rumble in the jungle made it into the trailer. Director Peter Berg, whose previous theatrical credit was the aptly titled Very Bad Things, bobs and weaves his camera with the precision of a man fleeing stampeding bulls in Pamplona. His improbable fight sequences liberally borrow styles and techniques from professional wrestling, which explains why The Rock looks so comfortable tossing smaller opponents through the air or pile-driving foes into the ground. Rundown aims to mix Midnight Run and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with neither the creativity, heart, nor sense of adventure found in either.

The Rock even brings a needed dose of natural charisma, but Beck is merely a combination of traits we've seen in heroes played by Stallone and Schwarzenegger. He hates guns, possesses a clean conscience that usually prevents him from taking the immoral road, and harbors a dream of opening a restaurant that will finally come true if he can pull off "one last job." His foil, Scott, resembles a buzzing gnat hovering around your ear. He does everything to get under the skin of both Beck and the audience, stopping just shy of incessantly chanting, "Are we there yet?"

And yet Rundown has one shining star. The laugh-out-loud hilarious Walken steals the show once again. I'm getting tired of writing this in reviews, but repeating it doesn't make it any less true. Watching Walken explain the tooth fairy myth to native Brazilians is worth more than the sought-after solid gold Gatto.

Towards the end of Rundown - as Beck smashes his fist through concrete, single-handedly wipes out Hatcher's armed goons, and dodges fireballs the size of Mini Coopers - it becomes clear how difficult it is to care for an indestructible hero. Since nothing can stop him, we never wonder "if" Beck will complete his mission. We just sit around and wait to see if he'll emerge with his glimmering white smile intact.

When you're smilin', the whole world smiles with you.


Comments

The Rundown Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 2003

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