The Rundown (2003)

Genre(s): Adventure / Comedy
Universal || PG13 - 105 minutes - $14.98 || March 23, 2004
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2004-10-09


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Peter Berg
Writer(s): R.J. Stewart (story), R.J. Stewart (screenplay) and James Vanderbilt (screenplay)
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Walken, Ewen Bremner, Jon Gries, William Lucking, Ernie Ryes Jr., Stuart Wilson


Theatrical Release Date: September 26, 2003


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director & Actor Commentary
  • Producers' Commentary
  • 6 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

When I first saw The Rundown in September of last year, I really never got into the spirit of the film. Although I still don't think it's great, I did find it to be funnier than before and decided to raise my grade from 2.5 to a solid 3 stars. The main problem with the film wasn't either The Rock or Seann William Scott, instead it was the direction and editing that seemed uneven.

I once said about the Rock's performance in The Scorpion King that he indeed could act, but he would have to be next to Jean Claude Van Dam to notice it. While I think he's on par with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the action acting category, he does not have the ability to act his way through an hour plus flick that are filled with moments that are supposed to be serious. I shall cite examples later.

The story of The Rundown starts out when a man named Beck (The Rock) tracks down a professional quarterback who owes money to a bookey (or whomever) at a nightclub. The opening scene is pretty cool and interesting as we see Beck at work trying to find a peaceful solution to the problem. He wants this pro QB to put up his championship ring as collateral and he gives him two options; Option A: the QB hands over the ring with no problem, or Option B: the opposite way. So he "chooses" the latter counting on his offensive linemen who are hanging around with him to take down this one man. Beck, of course, takes care of business taking down these huge guys with wrestling slam moves and such that sounds more ridiculous than it actually looked- it was indeed a cool scene to watch. However, that's where the fun ended for me.

Beck is an aspiring chef (it worked for Steve Seagal, didn't it?) who is in it deep with a man who holds some kind of power and because Beck wants to get out of the bounty hunting business and open up his own restaurant, he takes on last job that pays $250 grand and free of all his debt. This final job is to track down his son (from the guy's third marriage) in the Amazon and bring him back home. So Beck goes to a small village in the middle of the jungle called El Dorado (the original name for this movie was Helldorado, by the way).

This village is overrun by thug Hatcher (Walken) who has enslaved the people to dig for gold but within the jungle is a reble group trying to fight to take back their freedom. Rosario Dawson plays the leader of the group, Marianne. Both Marianne and Hatcher are after the same thing that only Beck's mark, Travis Walker (Scott) knows the whereabouts is. This thing they are after is a golden cat that is worth millions and can finally free the people once and for all.

I guess I never really got into the mood Rundown director Peter Berg was trying to convey. Obviously, it's an action-comedy with the Rock handling the action and American Pie legend Seann William Scott taking the comedy duties. I can't say the acting was too bad as both the Rock and Scott do a decent job but instead it was the screenplay that failed. It tries to convey a serious subject of this slavery and give a dramatic feel but instead when these serious moments turn up, I found it hard to take it seriously. For example, there's a scene where Beck, Travis and Marianne are sitting around a fire as Marianne explains why she's does what she does and why the golden gato is so important to the rebel's cause. But the scene never had an impact on me because the Rock is an action hero not a dramatic hero (VERY much like Ahnold).

Not only is the screenplay shabby at times, the characters also needed some work. The Rock's character has a background that deals with something bad that happened that involves a gun. After that moment, whatever it was, he vowed never to use a gun. But there's a scene in the end where he is forced to use guns to save the day, this moment is not as great as it could've been had the audience been informed of what happened in his past that got him here. Sure, there are scenes where Marianne asks why Beck is a bounty hunter but he just gives a vague and short answer that explained absolutely nothing. It is important to me, for most part, to tell the motivation of these characters so that during the film and at the end, I could care what happens to them.

Overall, I felt The Rundown had an interesting premise and, in the beginning, an intriguing main character, but it never took off for me. For some reason, the action-comedy genre mix wears thin. But, that's just me. I'll probably end up renting this film on DVD and it is possible I'll change my mind, but it is unlikely.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Rarely are the special features for a film better than the movie itself! Universal was nice enough to put everything on one disk, a disk that has six featurettes.

The Rumble in the Jungle featurette runs for about ten and half minutes and basically gives a behind-the-scenes look at The Rock and crew along with interviews with the likes of Seann William Scott who offers us insight into what the star is really like. The Amazon, Hawaii Style is a very interesting featurette that explore a little how they passed off Hawaii for Brazil. Also included is the story that director Peter Berg and others were held up and robbed while doing research in Brazil. Appetite for Destruction runs over eight minutes and goes into some detail about the stunt work for the film such as when they blew the bus up or the falling water tower. Unfortunately they did not show the cliff tumble... Next was a tabloid mockumentary, The Rundown Uncensored, exploring the scandal that broke out between The Rock and his monkey co-star, Running Down the Town, which explores the production design of this Brazilian town made in L.A. and Walken's World which goes a little in depth into his character and his headquarters. Nothing fantastic, but none-the-less interesting.

The best feature I found was the commentary track between Peter Berg and The Rock. It was not only informative but also informal in nature. The two would banter and also reveal some behind-the-scenes secrets like how Seann William Scott did not know how to swim or that Christopher Walken did not know what "Oompa Loompa" meant (it comes from Willy Wonka, by the way). This is one of the better commentary tracks I have listened to. There is also a second commentary track with two of the producers. This one was much more technical which I felt was a good fit considering the other track was more informal as I said. It does get a little bit boring in parts, but still decent enough.

Other features on this disk include: 8 deleted scenes that were deleted for a reason, a theatrical trailer, DVD-Rom features and the standard cast and filmmakers' bios.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The music score, the sounds of the synthetic jungle, all sounded good with very little problem. The picture was also very nice with the colors of this jungle coming through as well. Nothing fancy here, just a good new fashioned transfer.



.::OVERALL::.

A very good DVD that goes pretty in-depth with an action like this. The commentary with Berg and The Rock was great and really worth a rental. If you were a fan of this movie, the sound and picture were great and would be worth buying for. A surprisingly good disc!