Netflix Daily Pick: The Rock Brings the Funny in ‘The Rundown’ (2003)

Today's pick is an early lead performance from Dwayne Johnson.

The Rundown is a 2003 action/comedy about a tough aspiring chef who is hired to bring home a mobster’s son from the Amazon but becomes involved in the fight against an oppressive town operator and the search for a legendary treasure.

Today’s Netflix Pick is bit of silly fun starring one of today’s most charismatic performers in an early leading role that pretty much put him on the map in terms of what we could expect going for, that being high octane, big muscley fun. Known more as “The Rock” back than, Dwayne Johnson absolutely takes over the reigns of the genre (with a nice send off from previous holder Arnold Schwarzenegger). Raucous action and some great supporting players make this a terrific good time with several great sequences, both in comedy and action. It’s The Rundown and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why:

THE STORY: Directed by Peter Berg, it follows Big man Beck (Johnson), a bounty hunter with a speciality as a retrieval expert, collecting debt for a man named Billy Walker (William Lucking). Wanting out of the business though, he’s asked by Walker to take on one last case, to bring back his son Travis (Seann William Scott) who is down in Brazil hiding out in a mining town. If he does this, Beck can finally have enough money to open his dream restaurant. Naturally though, there are problems, the biggest being Mr. Hatcher (Christopher Walken) who learns that Travis has found himself something in the jungle of particular interest that he desperately wants. But he’s not the only one who can make good use of the find. Adventures ensue.

The Rundown
The Rundown, 2003 © Columbia Pictures Corporation

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: Really, this is all Johnson, who is just so much fun to watch, his natural charms, comedic timing and huge screen presence make him a perfect for the part. While his films are a bit of a hit and miss, with him doing better in support roles, there’s no denying the joy in watching him work. He is effortlessly on target and here does it best with a loaded performances that hits the mark in every scene. He immediately sets the right tone and we line up like lemmings to follow.

That said, Scott makes for a compelling unwilling partner and their personalities make for a surprisingly fun comedic duo, Walken is also deliciously creepy as the villain, of course, and watch for a great turn from Rosario Dawson as a rebel leader living in the jungle. Sure it’s all sort of mindless fun, but it does so with a nice nod to the genre, especially films from the 80s that kicked it all off. If you’re looking for a light but funny film and want to see The Rock in an early showing, this is the one. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.