Movies with The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson)

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 12:01 am

Films Starring The Rock

Dwayne Johnson never set out to be a movie star, but life is filled with unexpected twists and turns. In college, he played football for the NCAA champion Miami Hurricanes, although an injury would sideline him (and allow teammate Warren Sapp to get playing time). With his dreams of playing in the NFL dashed, he turned to the family business: professional wrestling.

His initial attempts to get over as a clean-cut good guy failed, but then he reinvented himself as The Rock, a smart-mouthed villain who insulted everyone and referred to himself in the third-person. He held the WWE title on numerous occasions, feuded with everyone from Stone Cold Steve Austin to The Undertaker, and eventually parlayed that success into a movie career.

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If you’re looking to explore The Rock’s talents as a thespian, the following movies are the best place to start:

Get Smart (2008) – While Steve Carell hogs all the laughs as nerdy analyst Maxwell Smart, The Rock gets to show off his muscles as Agent 23, the top agent for CONTROL. But when the identities of their operatives are compromised, the top-secret government organization is forced to put 23 behind a desk and send Max into the field along with sexy veteran 99 (Anne Hathaway). Hijinks ensue, and the strong supporting cast of this spy comedy includes Alan Arkin, Terence Stamp, Bill Murray, and James Caan.

The Mummy Returns (2001) – In this action-adventure movie, Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz star as a pair of 1930’s explorers who must stop the nefarious plot of a long-dead Egyptian priest (Arnold Vosloo). The Rock has a small part in the film, but it would set up a successful spin-off the following year and launch his career as a leading man. The sequel to The Mummy, this blockbuster would rake in over $433 million and guarantee yet another installment within a decade.

The Scorpion King (2002) – 5,000 years before the events depicted in The Mummy, The Rock reprises his role as Mathayus the Scorpion King. A feared mercenary, he’s hired to kill a sorcerer with the power of foresight. But it turns out that the sorcerer is actually a sorceress (Kelly Hu), and she’s smoking hot. This leads to a series of betrayals, chases, swordfights, and Dwayne Johnson keeping a straight face while delivering some pretty cheesy dialogue.

Gridiron Gang (2006) – The Rock takes a break from action movies to star in this uplifting sports movie based on a true story. He plays Sean Porter, an employee at an L.A. juvenile detention center who decides football will help the young men under his watch. So he forms the Kilpatrick Mustangs, and they begin their march towards the league title. Meanwhile, the players learn all sorts of life lessons while getting knocked into a semi-comatose state.

Fast Five (2011) – The fifth entry in The Fast and the Furious franchise, this action-charged heist film stars Vin Diesel as a car thief with a heart of gold, Paul Walker as a cop-turned-criminal, and The Rock as the hardass government agent dispatched to Brazil to track them down. Many of the characters from previous installments put in an appearance, including Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), Vince (Matt Schulze), Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang), Tej Parker (Ludacris), and Gisele Harabo (Gal Gadot). If you like fast cars and hot women, take Fast Five out for a spin.

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The Other Guys (2010) – Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg star as a pair of mismatched NYPD detectives who find themselves in hot water after uncovering a plot involving a billionaire (Steve Coogan), a greedy corporation, and a gang of mercenaries. Michael Keeton is a standout as their superior officer who unwittingly quotes lyrics from TLC songs, while The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson steal the early part of the film as the city’s most celebrated (and destructive) cops. Also starring Eva Mendes, Ray Stevenson, Anne Heche, Rob Riggle, and Ice-T (as the coolest narrator ever).

Walking Tall (2004) – A loose remake of the 1973 film starring Joe Don Baker, Walking Tall finds The Rock is the role of Chris Vaughn, a soldier who returns home to find the local mill closed and the townsfolk dependant on a casino run by Vaughn’s former classmate (Neal McDonough). Vowing to clean up crime and corruption, Vaughn runs for sheriff, wins the election, and proceeds to wallop people upside the head with pieces of lumber. Professional moron Johnny Knoxville co-stars.

The Rundown (2003) – Had this movie been made in the heyday of guys like Stallone and Schwarzenegger, it would be regarded as an action classic. It wasn’t of course, so there’s a chance you haven’t even heard of it…at least until now. The Rock stars as Beck, a guy who wants to walk away from his job as muscle for a crime boss and start his own restaurant. But in order to do so, he’ll have to complete one last assignment by heading to South America and bringing back the treasure-hunting son (Seann William Scott) of his employer. In the process, Beck will have to contend with a ruthless gold miner (Christopher Walken), amorous monkeys, an ass-kicking freedom fighter (Ernie Reyes, Jr.), and a sexy bartender (Rosario Dawson) who may be more than she appears. Watching Hatcher (Walken) explain the concept of the Tooth Fairy to his minions is a riot, and the climactic action sequence (directed by Peter Berg) is one of the best I’ve seen in years. Of all the movies with The Rock on this list, The Rundown ranks as my favorite.

Beyond the Mat (1999) – Before he broke into feature films, The Rock was one of the wrestlers featured in this documentary about the trials and tribulations of men who put on tights, oil themselves up, and proceed to beat each other silly for the delight of the crowd. But the real stars of the show are Jake Roberts, Mick Foley, and Terry Funk, three men at very different points in their careers. Sure, it may be called “sports entertainment” these days, but the toll that pro wrestling takes on its participants has to be seen to be believed.

Doom (2005) – The popular first-person shooter from id Software gets a big-screen adaptation, and The Rock headlines as Sarge, a tough-as-nails Marine who–along with his squad–is dispatched to Mars to investigate a security breach. Things go all to hell from there, with madness and killer mutants dominating the landscape. Karl Urban co-stars as a fellow Marine who lost his parents on Mars years before, but returns to ensure the safety of his scientist sister (Rosamund Pike). While it didn’t do well enough to warrant a sequel, this sci-fi film should delight hardcore Doom fans by featuring an extended scene shot in first-person perspective.

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If you like your entertainment to feature muscular guys kicking ass or showing a softer side, be sure to rent one or more of these movies with The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson). He would’ve already been an A-list star if this were the ‘80s or early ‘90s, but even the weak state of the action genre has only slowed him slightly. The Rock says…check these movies out!

This entry was posted on Monday, May 30th, 2011 at 12:01 am and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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