2013: Use of The Rock

| December 28, 2013

Empire State

MV5BMjExOTY4MDEzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzIyMTY3OQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_It’s one thing to use an actor like The Rock in a cameo so that you can put him front and center on the box art and hopefully get more people to buy your little movie, but at least give that actor something interesting to work with so that they don’t come off like they’re just phoning it in for a paycheck. I don’t know that that’s why The Rock did this movie but no matter how much he might have really wanted to be involved in Empire State, no matter how much he might have thought that the story of the movie was something unique, the character he plays is so one-dimensional that they basically could have just used an old standee from his wrestling days and pulled the audio of trite platitudes he’s said in his previous movies–maybe a good line from Walking Tall about doing the right thing-and still kept their plot on track. At least when Liam Hemsworth’s other completely forgettable movie from this year, Paranoia, enlisted Harrison Ford it gave him a super badass line to deliver that they even used in the trailer. Empire State gives The Rock nothing to play with.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

gi-joe-retaliation-final-posterI’m one of those weird people who really loves GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, so I actually lament the more realistic sequel–yes, rocket motorcycles and nano-tech dopplegangers and ninja cliff battles are too realistic–but The Rock is a welcome addition. But while GI Joe sounds exactly like something that The Rock would be perfect for, this is really a set-piece driven action movie, which means that The Rock doesn’t really get to show off. The Rock is coolest in very physical, one-on-one scenes where he can maybe throw in some wrastlin’ moves and you can inter-cut close-ups of him making serious, threatening looking faces by frowning and flexing his forehead-muscles. Watch through the trailer and you’ll notice that The Rock only ever stands somewhere while the camera looks at him, and then ninjas fight and big CG explosions happen. Sure this movie is decently fun, but it doesn’t live up to The Rock’s potential. I hope he returns with Channing Tatum for GI Joe: Sitting on the Couch Playing XBox and Drinking Beers.


Snitch_PosterSnitch is not the most interesting movie but it’s fun and it gives The Rock some light drama to play with. The plot is silly and the dramatic scenes are easily forgettable, but somehow The Rock makes those scenes entertaining enough that you don’t find yourself bored. You could easily compare this to Empire State because it is almost equally forgettable, except that it allows The Rock just enough dramatic room that he can illuminate an otherwise lackluster script. I’m basically saying that Snitch uses The Rock well because by not being a very good movie, it lets The Rock show off how good he is by improving the film overall. He has the kind of charisma that doesn’t win Oscars but is always entertaining. He’s been compared to Arnold Schwarzeneggar before and that’s not just because they are both big, bulky guys, but because they are both real movie stars. If you flipped past Snitch on cable one day, you might stop and watch it and really enjoy it, simply because of how fun it is to watch The Rock work.

Fast & Furious 6

fast_and_furious_six_ver6_xlgThis is the kind of action movie that The Rock is most impressive in. Furious 6 is one of my biggest disappointments of the year–mostly due to the over-use of Michelle Rodriguez–but the action scenes are among the year’s most impressive. And while those crazy over-the-top action scenes have big set pieces to them, with tanks or cars driving through planes, it still knows exactly what The Rock is best at. Sure, there are cars driving all over a runway shooting harpoons into the wings of a plane and flipping over and shit, but where is The Rock, he’s inside the plane beating up on dudes and picking up heavy things and hitting giant Russians with them. This movie knows how to make The Rock come off like a badass and it doesn’t disappoint. He was a welcome addition to the series in Fast Five and when Furious 6 started to get too melodramatic for its own good, The Rock helped keep it afloat.

Pain & Gain

pain_and_gain_ver2_xlgThe Rock is a super funny dude and we don’t get to see that often enough. Even in a mediocre movie like Be Cool he was able to steal every scene he was in and Pain & Gain is no different. His character is super wacky and manic which let’s The Rock just completely let loose. He’s hardly tied to the plot so his only real purpose is for comic relief, and because he gets to play around with his bizarre religious motivations and his obsession with “being fit” you tend to find yourself waiting for his character to come back on screen. But perhaps the trait that serves The Rock best when he’s taking on one of these comedic roles is that overly-exaggerated face of his. The same cartoonish face that let him push one eyebrow way up high in an attempt at intimidation in the ring serves him well now in these kinds of roles. The Rock doesn’t chew scenery, The Rock cooks it.

Check out our other awards for 2013:

Best WTF! Moments

Worst Criminals

FILMSPLOSIONBe Part of the Celebration

On Friday, January 3rd we’ll be recording this year’s Filmsplosion where we celebrate all the movies of 2013. Be sure to send in your votes for best film or your top ten lists or any other comments you have from this year and be entered to win free tickets to the Alamo Drafthouse and other awesome prizes.




About the Author:

Every week Ryan, James, and Brad of Denver based Reel Nerds Podcast attend a new movie and then we podcast our experience to the world. We also share news, opinions and reviews of movies, comics, video games and pop culture! Turn off your cell phones and save the chatter for after the credits!

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