The Rock plays Beck, would-be restauranteur, but currently bounty hunter in thrall to a mobboss. If he takes one more job, his obligations will be cleared, and he can open his restaurant.The job entails tracking down the gangster’s son (Seann William Scott) in the Amazon. Nothingis simple for our poor hero, as it turns out that Scott has located a priceless statuette, and TheRock is soon caught between the forces of gold mine overlord Christopher Walken and thenatives rebel…ing against his tyranny. Each sees the statuette as their key to victory.
I will confess to initial skepticism. I was hardly bowled over by The Rock’s previous starringrole, The Scorpion King. Consider me a complete convert. Early in the film, there is themuch talked about cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who walks out of a nightclub and mutters“Have fun” to The Rock as he walks in. The hype around this moment was that this is some sortof passing of the action torch. For once, the hype is accurate. The Rock’s easy-going charm andpowerful physical presence portend great things for his future as an action hero, and the promiseis thoroughly fulfilled here. Peter Berg’s direction keeps the pace frantic and funny, and theaction is bone-crunching. We have become so used to action scenes consisting of rapidly cutextreme close-ups that to encounter the contrary, where (even with the rapid editing) we canactually see the stunts and wince at them, is exhilarating. So Scott’s character is both irritatingand fuzzily defined. So what. The Rock more than carries the film. I haven’t had this much funwith an action flick in ages.
The audio crunches the bones in perfect concert with the story. The music is pile-driver fierceor lush, as called for by the mood, and the environmental effect is sustained and flawless. Theplacement of sound effects — left, right, front, rear — is bang on and lots of fun. The volume ishigh, the noise is big, but the dialogue is clear and never drowned out.
The picture is just as good as the sound. The colours are sumptuous — truly gorgeous stuffhere, with excellent contrasts and deep, deep blacks. The green of the jungle is a profoundemerald, while the nightclub sequence is pulsing lights and darkness without ever becoming theslightest bit bleached or murky. There is no grain, the 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen image israzor sharp, and there are no edge enhancement issues. Marvellous stuff.
Two commentaries here. The first, by Peter Berg and The Rock, is jovial and tongue-in-cheek (maintaining for several minutes that the entire film was shot off the coast of New Jersey),but is finally a bit too trivial. Producers Kevin Misher and Marc Abraham provide much morebehind-the-scenes information on their track. There are 6 featurettes, running 5-10 minutes, eachfocussing on a different aspect of the film (fight scenes, animals, Christopher Walken, etc). Thefocus of each helps, but they remain of limited interest since they are so obviously promotional.There is a montage of deleted scenes (almost a quarter of an hour’s worth of footage), cast andcrew biographies and filmographies, and DVD-ROM material. The menu’s intro and transitionsare scored and animated, but the screens themselves are simply scored.
A fair quantity of extras, though the quality is middling. The movie itself, however, is awalloping good time, and it looks and sounds magnificent.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary by The Rock and Director Peter Berg
- Deleted Scenes
- Cast and Crew Filmographies and Biographies
- “Rumble in the Jungle” Featurette
- “The Amazon, Hawaii-Style” Featurette
- “Appetite for Destruction” Featurette
- “The Rundown Uncensored” Featurette
- “Running Down the Town” Featurette
- DVD-ROM Features