Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I've been waiting for Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) to accept his fate as this generations resident action hero for some time now. He may have, finally, come back to it.

He started out with promise taking on roles in movies like WALKING TALL and THE RUNDOWN, but then, like most action heros do at some point in their career, decided he wanted to be taken seriously as an actor and wanted to showcase his comedic chops. This lasted for nearly 5 years. Luckily, in that 5 years, no one else was able to step up and grab the title (to borrow a phrase from The Rock's WWE past). It was rightfully his and we were all waiting for him to graciously accept it.


There is no one else that could do it. And I'm not talking about Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme here either. Dwayne Johnson is and should be the new Bruce Willis. And that's hard to do, but I'm ready to give him that mantle and I think he's finally ready to accept it.

Look at it this way, Van Damme and Seagal made good bad action movies, but they never made purely awesome action movies. They didn't have the charisma to pull it off. Jason Statham wanted the title, but his too-serious, pursed lip scowl didn't do him any favors and he relied too heavily on martial arts trickery. He doesn't seem like the type of guy you'd just watch in a knock down street brawl and believe it.

The Rock, excuse me, Dwayne Johnson, has acting chops and comedic timing. He does. He was the only good part of the otherwise abysmal BE COOL and he's killed every time he's been on SNL. But  in the grand scheme of Hollywood, he's only marginally talented. He's also just way too big for the roles he'd ideally like to play. He's 6'4". You put him in a movie with Tom Cruise or Matt Damon and he's going to dwarf them (and probably be a DP's biggest nightmare because of a 9" height difference). So yeah, he's good, but he doesn't have the kind of chops that put him in anywhere other than the Bruce Willis league. And that's not a bad thing.

That's why with the recent DRIVE and finally, FAST FIVE, I think he's accepted his role.

I've never seen a single one of the movies from the FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise. I don't care about cars and I've don't really like a single actor that's been any of them. You throw The Rock in the fifth one and I'm there opening weekend.

There's no way to be critical about this movie. You should know exactly what you're getting in to before you go and that's the only reason to go. I heard Adam Carolla talk about it the other day and he basically said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "FAST FIVE is like a Twinkie. It's not great and you can't compare it to a real dessert like a fresh German Strudel. But if you're in the mood for a Twinkie, the only thing that's going to satiate you is a Twinkie."

And that's probably the best way to sum it up. Sure, there are flaws and holes and it's about 15 minutes too long, but it is what it is. There are a few great action scenes and a fantastic climax. The whole plot felt a little too "borrowed" from OCEAN'S 11 though (right down to the characterizations) and from what I've been told by 'fans' of the series, too caper-y and light on street racing.

But you know what? I don't care. The Rock killed it the whole way through and I was entertained for two hours on a Sunday night. That's more than I was hoping for and my $8.50 paid off.

And finally, The Rock has come back.

1 comment:

  1. The movie Faster that he did last year was a pretty good action movie without being completely over the top.