Here’s ‘The Rundown’: This movie is nothing new
Adults watching “The Rundown” can wile 100 minutes cataloging spare parts. Been here, done this, usually in better company.
Recognize the menacing monkeys (“The Wizard of Oz”)â¢ How about the jungle trek for a long-hidden treasure (“King Solomon’s Mines” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” among the dozens)â¢ And that valuable statueâ¢ Right out of “The Maltese Falcon.”
Ever met the white expatriate despot holed up in an exotic land where he has enslaved — or mesmerized — the nativesâ¢
Just in case anyone doesn’t recognize it as Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” already adapted well enough into “Apocalypse Now,” “The Rundown” gives Christopher Walken (as a Kurtz figure named Hatcher) a final line: “I am a heart in the darkness.” Got it.
Dwayne Johnson, a pro wrestler who caught on under the moniker The Rock, bills himself accordingly in pictures such as “The Mummy Returns” and “The Scorpion King.”
He plays here “a retrieval expert” and reluctant enforcer named Beck who takes on “the entire offensive line” of a football team and all other armies single-handed.
To liquidate his employment for a thug, he agrees to retrieve the thug’s cocky-without-a-cause son Travis (Seann William Scott) from the Amazon jungle.
Travis doesn’t intend to leave the Amazon without the statue, which is also of interest to the gold-mining eccentric Hatcher.
The moment you meet the barmaid Mariana (Rosario Dawson), you know she has an inner warrior, a Lara Croft-style machismo that will make her the same old She-Man.
At least the screenplay by R.J. Stewart and James Vanderbilt is directed more than competently by Peter Beck.
It has one scene that explains Oscar-winner Walken’s involvement — he tries to explain the concept of the tooth fairy through a translator — two that are moderately amusing involving hallucinogenic fruit, and one that will have kids doubled up (Travis, handcuffed-behind-his-back, negotiates to relieve himself).
Mostly, “The Rundown” numbs with its cartoonish crutches: super-human stunts, explosions and invulnerable heroes. Will Hollywood never learn that heroes who can’t be hurt rob us of a rooting interestâ¢
Director: Peter Berg.
Stars: The Rock, Seann William Scott, Christopher Walken.
MPAA rating: PG-13 for adventure violence and some crude dialogue.