by Tony Medley
Run time 95 minutes.
Not for children.
The Rock is back! Former Miami
football star (and also a professional wrestling star) Duane Johnson
made his mark in the movies as action hero known as The Rock. Then I
guess he decided he wanted to be an “actor,” so he became Duane Johnson
and played in several light comedies. I liked them, but I was apparently
in the minority, so now he returns in this testosterone-laden revenge
action film and allows himself to be referred to as The Rock in ads.
Getting out of prison he
immediately sets about to kill all the people involved in the caper that
got his brother killed and him sent to prison. There are some nice
twists as two cops, a drug-infested Billy Bob Thornton, and an
attractive Carla Gugino, as well as a hit man, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, are
all after Duane.
Johnson drives an early-70s
Chevelle throughout the movie and it sounds a lot like the
never-to-be-forgotten Mustang that Steve McQueen (and uncredited stunt
driver Bud Elkins) drove in Bullitt (1968). Director George
Tillman, Jr. even adds the revved up audio whenever Johnson (known only
as “Driver” throughout the film) gets in the Chevelle. This makes it
sound as if he’s driving 80 mph even if he’s just started up.
The only thing that
disappointed me was that Johnson never did raise his one eyebrow, a move
that has become classic for him.
Considering the genre, the
performances are all very good, especially Johnson who has yet to
disappoint me. I thought the story line, which includes a theme of moral
renascence of forgiveness and redemption, was also elevated above what
one generally gets in this type of film. Even so, it’s a film with quite
a bit of violence that will probably appeal to guys a lot more than