Back in October of last year after seeing the trailer for The Tooth Fairy, I suggested staging an intervention for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in order to save him from his horrible movie choices. A guy who came into Hollywood with so much promise was throwing his life away by doing horrible Disney movie after horrible Disney movie and I just couldn’t bear to watch it any longer. I thought, if we could just get to him in time, we could get his life and his career back on track. I thought we could save him.
There comes a point, however, where you have to face reality. You can get a person’s friends and family members together in a room to share their thoughts and concerns about that person’s disease, but in order for an intervention to actually work, he has to have a desire to change. You can force it upon him. He has to want to get healthy.
It pains me to say it, but I think The Rock may now be beyond saving. He’s clearly hit rock bottom (see what I did there?), but it doesn’t seem like he’s come to grips with that fact. He’s locked on this destructive path and I see no end to his shitty, shitty career choices. At this point, as much as it pains me, it may be time to cut ties with him in order to protect my own emotional well-being.
At first, it seemed like The Rock was getting the message. In that column last October, I said he needed to stop doing Disney movies and get back to doing what he does best – action films. Looking at his slate of movies this year, it seemed like that did get through to him. Things started off great in 2010 with his role in The Other Guys. Alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Johnson played a bad ass supercop. It was a really funny role and one that he shined in. He held his own next to Jackson and he reminded the world just how likable and charming he can be when he wants to.
But that was just a cameo and it was a comedy. To truly get things back on track, The Rock needed to do an action movie. He needed to rediscover the mojo he had back in The Rundown and Walking Tall. Instead of being a parody of an action star, he needed to be the real deal.
When I saw the trailers for Faster, I was hopeful. It seemed like the perfect action vehicle for him. After all the Disney movies and the comedic roles, Faster seemed like the gritty, unrelenting action film that was going to remind the world just how much of a bad ass Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can be. We were poised to once again smell what The Rock was cooking.
There was just one problem – Faster turned out to be a terrible, terrible movie. It is truly awful. Watching it made me sad. I get wanting to toughen up Johnson’s image after all of his lighthearted, family-friendly roles, but you have to remember to play to his strengths. The Rock is an incredibly charismatic guy – he’s perfectly suited for an action movie that pairs him with a wacky sidekick and gives him cheesy one-liners to spout off while taking out the bad guys. Give him a witty barb and let him cock his eyebrow right before he knocks out the villain with a vicious right cross and the whole theater goes home happy. It’s that simple.
In Faster, there was none of that. Johnson barely spoke. He had no personality whatsoever. Instead, he was an emotionless killing machine who went around coldly executing those who had wronged him. There was no reason to care about him or his story. You felt no sympathy toward him as he set out on his quest for revenge. There was no reason to even bother casting Johnson in the role; anyone who can scowl and hold a gun convincingly could have played the part.
Faster was a complete failure. And it was box office poison. What should have been Johnson’s triumphant return to the action genre ended up being a sad, forgettable revenge flick that is destined to spend eternity in Walmart’s $5 DVD bin.
After seeing Faster in the theater, my hope that The Rock would ever get his career together reached an all-time low. I believed for years that if he just got back to the action genre, he would be fine. But Faster proved to be a cold wake up call to reality. Still, it wasn’t until yesterday that I officially lost all hope. I realized we had officially passed the point of saving him when I saw the trailer for Johnson’s next film – Fast Five.
Fast Five, in case you are blissfully unaware, is the fifth installment in The Fast and The Furious franchise. The Fast and The Furious movies are nothing more than car porn featuring the lazily-scripted, badly-acted, latently-homoerotic exploits of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. Sure, it’s kind of hot watching Jordana Brewster passionately work a stick shift, but save for those few brief scenes, the movies are just painful to watch.
And while the scripts for these films were never anything to write home about, in Fast Five the writers don’t even seem like they are trying anymore. The tagline is: “This model is fully loaded.” A character actually spouts off the line: “This just went from Mission: Impossible to Mission: In-freakin’-sanity.” If this script wasn’t written in 10 minutes on the back of a cocktail napkin, I’d be amazed. The only promising thing about the trailer is that Vin Diesel swears that after this film, they are all going to “disappear forever.” Let’s hope he’s a man of his word.
Unfortunately, I’m afraid The Rock’s career will disappear right alongside them. Deep in my heart, I want him to turn his life around and to get things back on track. But I fear it may be too late. I’m hoping for the best, but bracing myself for the worst.
Somewhere, deep inside this sick individual is the charismatic action star I fell in love with. It’s up to The Rock to find a way to be that guy again. Only you can save yourself, Rock. Do it before it’s too late. And for the love of God, do it before they start filming The Fast and The Furious 6.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.