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The Rundown - Preview & US reaction



Preview by: Jack Foley

IT SOUNDS like an odd comination - a former WWF wrestler, a comedian and one of the great screen stars - but it seems to have provided the perfect formula for some Friday night Box Office fun.

The Rundown stars The Rock, Seann William Scott and Christopher Walken in a film about a Los Angeles bounty hunter, named Beck (The Rock), who travels to the Amazon to retrieve a smart-mouthed, dimwitted, double-dealing son, Travis (Scott), who's been leading a life of adventure in Brazil.

However, once there Beck finds that Travis is reluctant to leave, and when he hears of hidden goldmines, the two join forces and head to Helldorado, where they encounter a mysterious woman (Rosario Dawson) and the town's half-crazed fortune-hunting leader (Christopher Walken).

The film is directed by Peter Berg, of Very Bad Things fame, and is said to contain a good mix of laughter and thrills.

Berg readily confesses to finding the project 'a big undertaking', but was keen to unite with the established likes of Scott and Walken, as well as The Rock, who has already found some sort of movie success with roles in The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King.

And if he thought the prospect of filming was difficult, then the research he put into the locations was even more challenging, if a report on Movies.com is to be believed.

According to Variety, Berg and producer, Kevin Misher, were ambushed and robbed in the Brazilian jungle on June 14, while on a research trip.

The two, who were traveling with production designer, Tom Duffield, and line producer, Ric Kidney, were held for about 15 minutes and robbed of their cash and a laptop computer.

Variety stated that the group escaped without harm and drove to Manaus, a nearby city, to report the crime to local police officials.

The experience didn't shake the team too much, and even appears to have strengthened their resolve towards making The Rundown even more fun.

It opened in America this weekend (September 26) and has attracted better reviews than anyone might have expected from a first glance at its credentials.

 

US reaction

The word from America, it seems, is go and see this film if you want a fun, popcorn-fuelled night at the cinema.

Entertainment Weekly leads the way, by describing it as 'the wildly asinine crack-up derby that XXX should have been'. It awarded it a B.

While Hollywood Reporter referred to it, positively, as 'a high-testosterone Amazon adventure with a comic slant'.

Rolling Stone gleefully announced that 'The Rock has a flair for action and comedy; he's a real movie star', while the Chicago Tribune stated that 'The Rundown has what we usually want to see in movies like this: bravura action, tongue-in-cheek humor, but most of all attitude'.

JoBlo's Movie Emporium, meanwhile, announced that it had 'been waiting for an able replacement to Sly and Arnie, and The Rock is definitely it!!'

On a slightly less positive note, the Los Angeles Times warned that, 'for much of the film, Berg is content to act like a Michael Bay wannabe, orchestrating large action set pieces that get increasingly tiresome and WWE-like as individuals get mindlessly slammed into the dust'.

While the New York Times dismissed it as 'a strictly formulaic action picture that suggests some of Mr Schwarzenegger's early, low-budget vehicles, like Commando and Raw Deal'.

Slant Magazine went one step further, and slated it by concluding that it's 'not particularly good even as junk food'.

But the positives seemed to outweigh the negatives, with LA Weekly stating that it is 'a surprisingly airy, jungle-set adventure, boisterously winking at Huston, Peckinpah and the same Saturday-morning serials that birthed Indiana Jones'.

And E! Online referred to it as 'easily the most fun you'll have with horny monkeys all year' - awarding it a generous B+.

Ebert and Roeper, meanwhile, felt that it was 'a great action ride that's funnier than most pure comedies'.

While the Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted that 'it delivers the goods as a mindless Hollywood action movie in a way few of its recent predecessors have, and even non-fans might find it a most diverting guilty pleasure'.

The Chicago Sun-Times concludes this round-up, by stating that it 'enjoyed it that real things were happening, that we were not simply looking at shoot-outs and chases, but at intriguing and daring enterprise'.

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