'Rundown' fills the action niche nicely
Seattle Times movie critic
It should be noted that the guy sending Beck on the mission operates a meat grinder throughout their conversation, which is just about what you need to get the upper hand with this hulk — Beck is capable, we're shown, of beating up entire rooms full of people singlehandedly. But he meets his match in the Amazon, squaring off against rogue adventurer Travis (Seann William Scott), enigmatic siren Mariana (Rosario Dawson) and crackpot despot Hatcher (Christopher Walken).
While you won't exactly walk out humming the plot, "The Rundown" should go down quite decently with popcorn; it's got plenty of jungle action scenes reminiscent of "Romancing the Stone" or an Indiana Jones movie. Travis and Beck, at one point, have a nifty duel while dangling upside down from vines; and there's some downhill cliff-rolling that most definitely gathers moss (and spells doom for Beck's natty khaki suit).
The Rock has a nicely relaxed presence onscreen; he's not actually projecting emotion or anything like that, but none is needed. (And my hat is off to any performer who can deliver the line, "You're threatening me with pee," without giggling.) Dawson and her cleavage perform nicely (what, you want substance here?); Scott grins diabolically, in that Jim Carrey Jr. way of his.
And Walken performs his usual larceny — he not only steals the movie, he practically takes it to the pawn shop. The wild-haired Hatcher is a gentlemanly lunatic, speaking in seemingly an entirely different language from everyone else. After one setback, he launches into a diatribe that begins, "I feel like a little boy who has lost his first tooth" and ends with him barking "Do you understand the CAAAAAncept of the tooth fairy?" It's an inspired moment; entire movies can be built on less.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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