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The Rundown

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
The Rundown

from Film Forum, 10/02/03

Famed pro wrestler The Rock plays a restaurateur in The Rundown, but he's not in the kitchen for long. He is soon recruited as a "retrieval expert" and sent to Brazil to retrieve an amateur archaeologist (Sean William Scott) searching for the Gato del Diablo, which is (unlucky for him) an ancient golden idol, not a foreign food establishment. To make matters worse, the locals believe the idol is their only hope for salvation from a wicked slavedriver named Cornelius Hatcher (Christopher Walken).

The Rundown is an action/comedy in the tradition of 48 Hours and Midnight Run, and it is being hyped as the movie that will help Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson transition from being known as primarily as a wrestler to being the new supreme action hero. The film even includes an inside joke suggesting Johnson is the heir-apparent to Arnold Schwarzenegger's throne.

The Rock's character, Beck, is a man with a strong inclination toward nonviolence, and only resorts to it when provoked. But this, according to religious press critics, does not amount to an anti-violence message.

David DiCerto (CNS) says, "The peaceful philosophy to which he subscribes is little more than lip service, a cleverly scripted smokescreen to amp up the applause when his inner ticking time-bomb finally explodes, unleashing his pyrotechnic fury. And while it does suggest several lame violence-is-bad public service announcements throughout the carnage, Beck's path of least resistance leads to the same old Hollywood destination: Mayhem, U.S.A."

Bob Smithouser (Plugged In) agrees: "[The] character's reluctance to carry a gun and his commitment to remain a man of his word are honorable. He's not vindictive or over-the-top. Granted, choosing his brand of action violence over his predecessors' is like choosing a brand of cigarette because it has a better filter. The PG-13 conflict may throttle back, but it's not exactly healthy, either."

Nevertheless, Holly McClure (Crosswalk) blurbs, "This movie rocks!"

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says the movie "isn't really that deep. But … the character relationships are fresh and enjoyable. Berg … not only keeps the action lively but he infuses the action with an abundance of humor. [The Rundown] is a fun popcorn flick and as summer distractions go, what's better than that?"

Lisa Rice (Movieguide) calls it a "white-knuckled action film with sporadic moments of breathtaking beauty and laughter. The writing is good, and the comedic scenes are tight. The movie's tone is humanist, with the strength of man and the power of his weapons being the all-important answer to the social ills of third world countries. As with many action films, however, there is no overt preaching to the story."