WRESTLERS seldom make great film actors, unless you consider Hulk Hogan’s turn as Thunderlips in Rocky III great acting. Welcome to the Jungle represents one of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s first major forays into the world of acting.
After great success as the Scorpion King, the Rock is given a lighter task of teaming with Sean William-Scott in this bounty hunter in a jungle escapade.
Peter Berg’s film isn’t Oscar winning or a lung busting laughter-fest. Nor is it in any particular way clever. But what it does do is it puts a smile on the viewer’s face and most importantly it is fun.
The Rock plays Beck a bounty hunter who is also a bit of a killer in the kitchen, he collects debts for Walker played by William Lucking (or Colonel Lynch – if you squint hard enough).
The Rock’s character is dispatched on one final mission before he gets to retire, opening his restaurant, bringing Walker his son Travis (played by Sean William Scott) back from the Amazon.
Travis refuses to return of his own free will; both he and Beck end up in the jungle chased by rebel bandits after a priceless artefact and the tyrannical mine boss Mr. Hatcher, played by superb Christopher Walken.
Welcome to the Jungle or The Rundown as it is known in the states uses the sum of its parts really effectively. The Rock’s physique is emphasised to the point where his biceps become ingrained in the viewer’s cornea. Sean William Scott provides the comic foil to The Rock, with some fun dialogue.
Christopher Walken displays his trademark offbeat delivery and almost maladroit movements as the villain. But as only Walken can, he makes it work.
But despite all these things Welcome to the Jungle isn’t exactly clever. A monkey humping The Rock is as cheap a laugh as you’ll get, but not as cheap as the plot which is simply three narrative strands based around the same rare artefact.
Good, fun escapism especially with the fantastic jungle vistas, but don’t expect any Academy award winning turns here.