The Rundown

There is an important moment within the first few minutes of The Rundown. Beck (The Rock, The Scorpion King, The Mummy Returns) enters club, and Arnold Schwarzenegger has a quick cameo where he tells him to "have fun." It is a symbolic passing of the torch from one generation to the next, As Schwarzenegger gets older, his role as action hero seems increasingly preposterous. He has outlasted his other action peers, and although there are some up and coming contenders, WWE's Rock is clearly one of the frontrunners. The main element he has that the other posers do not is a sense of charisma. Yes, he is big and buff and cut, but he brings a sense of fun and personality to his roles.

Beck is a "retrieval expert," which means that people pay him to find other people. After the aforementioned Schwarzenegger cameo, Beck proceeds to pummel his way through an entire offensive line to get his man. But really, he wants to open a restaurant, and the movie will chronicle his last job before his retirement, one that looks easy. He is to fly to the Amazon and get Travis (Seann William Scott, American Wedding, Bulletproof Monk), the wayward son of one of Beck's clients. Once down there, he discovers that Travis is working for Hatcher (Christopher Walken, Gigli, Poolhall Junkies) and looking for a priceless artifact. Hatcher is the stereotypical gringo, exploiting the locals and making a huge profit off their toil. Otherwise, R.J. Stewart (Amazon High, Major League II) and James Vanderbilt's (Darkness Falls, Basic) is a series of spectacular sequences intercut by tedium.

Beck quickly subdues Travis, whose humor alternates between amusing and annoying. His easy job turns out to be anything but, with the duo becoming embroiled in all sorts of bad situations. Also along for the ride is bartender Mariana (Rosario Dawson, The 25th Hour, The Adventures of Pluto Nash). Every time they extricate themselves from one predicament, another rolls around. Be it horny monkeys, angry locals, or gun-wielding thugs, Beck and Travis bicker their way through them. This is the typical male bonding buddy movie where the two protagonists hate each other but somehow manage to cooperate enough to survive (well, that and Beck can kick Travis' butt up and down the floor).

Director Peter Berg's (Very Bad Things) only job is to ensure that The Rundown remains fun. And it is. It is a trifle of a popcorn movie, with nothing going on upstairs but decently fun to watch. Things move quickly, and Berg makes sure that the story doesn't get in the way of some surprisingly elaborate fight scenes. Everything hinges on The Rock and Scott. Dawson has a thankless role of doing nothing, and Walken gives his typical strange delivery to little effect here. Scott is the mouth, and Rock is the muscle, and ten minutes after The Rundown nothing matters because it has completely exited the brain.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated PG-13 for adventure violence and some crude humor.

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