Making the Grades
Watching Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson take on legions of bad guys and guerilla rebels has a familiar feel to any one who has followed his career in World Wrestling Entertainment. Single-handedly subduing one line-up of challengers after another, the 260 lb. star of the ring and screen will likely draw in fans just as easily to watch their hero in his new action/comedy film, The Rundown.
Beck (played by The Rock) is an American bounty hunter who has an aversion to guns. Forced to redeem himself for a past indiscretion (which is never revealed), he does what he is required to do but is anxious to walk away from his current career and open up a restaurant.
Maybe it's that cultured aspect of his personality that causes the super-sized retrieval expert to give his charges two choices when he picks them up: (A) come along peacefully or (B) do it painfully. Pick your option, but either way you're coming.
Agreeing to do one last job, Beck leaves the urban jungle and cemented streets of Los Angles, and heads for the Amazon. His task is to bring back an errant son who has gone on an extended treasure hunt in the wilds of Brazil.
However the object of his mission isn't too eager to go home.
Foul-mouthed and cheeky, Travis (Seann William Scott) is a university dropout who doesn't know when to keep his crackpot comments to himself. Almost ready to unearth an ancient artifact, the wannabe PhD. believes the find will secure his name in the annals of scientific history. In the meantime, all he has to do is get Marianna (Rosario Dawson), the local barmaid, to loan him a boat.
But Travis' vocal reluctance isn't the only hurdle Beck has to face. Deep in the tropical forest, a man named Hatcher (Christopher Walkin) has crowned himself sovereign of his own little manmade kingdom where he exploits the indigenous people as slaves in his goldmine. Equally interested in the pure gold relic (solely for monetary reasons), Hatcher isn't about to let Travis slip out of his grip until the priceless object is firmly in his hands
Tackling the opposition with the rigged ease of a professional entertainer, Beck does little more than break a sweat when fighting his way out of a tight spot. Following a bumpy and rapid ricochet down a thousand feet or so of rock and tree covered cliff, both he and Travis are up on their feet with nary a limp or scratch. Few, if any, signs of blood are evident even after being viciously whacked across the head with a tree limb. There's also heaps of hits, kicks and body slams executed without a hint of bodily harm ---potentially dangerous scenarios to have repeated at home at the hands of amateurs.
While The Rock's popularity is a testament to his screen presence, the unchecked violence along with profanities in this film may leave most families looking for another option at the box office.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Rundown.
Although the story takes place is a small Brazilian village, the locals, aside from Marianna, appear to be little more than visual background for the film. Why do the townspeople have no voice while the outsiders are the ones making all the decisions? How are visible minorities often depicted in movies, particularly when shown in third world countries?
Despite the fact that the town has just been virtually destroyed and dead bodies are littering the street, what does the movie do to try and create a ?warm fuzzy? ending? In reality, what challenges will the natives face? Should movies always try to have a happy ending?