The Rundown

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By Mark Ramsey | 2003/09/28

In The Rundown, Christopher Walken’s hair has never been so horizontally challenged.

He’s the King of the Jungle, a Jungle VIP, a California Conquistador in a J. Peterman sombrero. Chris is plundering the Brazilian countryside with a mine the size of Maine and thousands of indigenous extras – slave-wage miners – hauling bags of dirt, stopping only long enough to spread some on the sweaty cast.

Did Chris ever imagine he’d be playing second fiddle to a former pro wrestler and the American Pie guy?

James Lipton, Inside the Actor’s Studio

And then we come to…The Rundown

(obsequious applause)

…where your craft reached scintillating new heights opposite that magnificent and, dare I say, strapping actor known as The Rock.

(obsequious applause)

Christopher Walken

Yes, he’s mahvelous. And Seann William Scott, he’s a brilliant mahstah of the craft, too

(obsequious applause)

James Lipton, Inside the Actor’s Studio

And with a bravura six-pack to die for!

(obsequious applause)

You get the idea.

Truly, The Rock’s acting skills are treading water midway between the island of infinitesimal and the isthmus of immeasurable. Says Walken, “when a man of your dimensions travels all this way…” and by “dimensions” he did not mean more than one.

rundown_switch.jpgStill, Rock’s got that special charisma that comes only from a Hulkish frame, the ability to kick universal ass, daffy self-deprecating dialogue, and eyebrows so paint-by-number fine they could link circuits on a silicon chip. Here’s a butt-kicker who is also a gourmet chef, which is the best idea the Food Network never had.

And then there’s Seann William Scott. After tag-teaming with Chow Yun-Fat and now, The Rock, Seann is the go-to guy for action stars who consider English their second language and dialogue their third.

Part-time Brazilian rebel leader, part-time barmaid, Rosario Dawson fights to free the pretzels from the nuts, once and for all.

Brazilian rebels? I wasn’t aware Brazil had rebels, being South America’s leading economic power and all. Isn’t that like the Hamptons having rebels, or as the locals call them, Republicans?

rundown_dance.jpgNot since “The A-Team” has there been so much butt-kicking with so little blood. Like a Rock in a china shop, people are mostly knocked into furniture or vice versa. No animals were harmed during the making of this movie, but South American end tables are now a scarce resource.

The Rock plays a “retrieval expert,” a fancy-pants job description he shares with my dog.

He travels to Brazil to bring back Seann William Scott thus eradicating from the Southern hemisphere all horny, doofus character actors.

Seann tries to persuade Rock of his karate skills. Revving up to go all Bruce Lee, Seann calls one leg “Mr. Thunder” and the other “Mr. Lightning.” Unfortunately, he forgot his arms are called “Mrs. Bake Sale” and “Mrs. Tea Party.”

As The Rundown runs you down, you can almost feel the sheets of testosterone crash into you from the silver screen. And that’s a good thing.

The Rundown is a cross between Romancing the Stone and Midnight Run. I doubt sincerely that it is, as one reviewer put it, the funniest action comedy since 48 Hours, but in a year where cinematic action and comedy are both so ho-hum, it’ll do.


Photos Copyright ©2003 Universal Pictures

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