I, like many people, went out to see Fast Five and be dazzled by its complex plot and characterizations. Just kidding, I went to see shit get blown up, crashed, smashed, and shot. I was pretty excited to see two separated-at-birth meatheads, Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, smash sweaty brows into each other. While the racing is always cool, I think this is the installment where the physical action really shines through. The gun fights and the fist fights were both more exciting than any of the driving.
And while enjoying The Rock and Vin Diesel try to lay the smack down on each other, I got to thinking: why isn’t The Rock a bigger star? I mean, who cares about Vin Diesel? Just kidding. Vin Diesel is fine too. But really I was thinking about Dwayne Johnson. Do you smell what he’s cooking? I don’t think so, because he hasn’t been in nearly enough films. Right?Going through Johnson’s filmograpy, most of his credits are WWE and WWE-related. And when we really examine his film career, we find something strange and perhaps dangerous. Dwayne Johnson isn’t really an action star. This guy is obviously huge and has Doom on his resume, but he also has the The Tooth Fairy. It’s not a solid wall of action. He has in the neighborhood of five starring action roles and an equal number of comedy/family films. For the record, I include action-comedies like The Rundown exclusively as action films.
Why is this intimidatingly large super athletic monster being so under-utilized in the action world? We’re in a time period that needs a steroid-like injection of massive dudes into our action films. Who are the current action heroes – theatrically – and ignoring The Expendables. Guys like Channing Tatum, Jason Statham, and Sam Worthington. Gerard Butler in 300. Perhaps impressively cut or athletic at times, and cool in Statham’s case, but big action stars? No. Worthy of filling Arnold Schwarzenegger’s combat boots or Jean Claude Van Damme’s one-piece? No.
Why aren’t our heroes big muscle bound dudes anymore? Who cares if that’s not attainable for most people, driving a car 160mph and surviving a shoot out aren’t either. So let our action heroes be larger than life. Pump them full of steroids and let them loose. Cast The Rock in some action films!
I think we can all agree that Dwayne Johnson isn’t a classically trained Shakespearean actor. We’re not interested in his portrayal of Cyrano de Bergerac. We’re interested in him tackling people through windows and shooting big guns. The Rundown wasn’t a bad flick at all, The Rock was just fine in Doom, and he kicks ass in Faster and Fast Five. He can handle what’s necessary and he’s an old school 80’s styled action monster.
Vin Diesel is an alright action presence and has a decent look to him – until you saddle him up against Johnson, who looks as though he could eat Diesel for a snack. Bigger is badder is better when it comes to action in my book.
So let’s power up our action heroes. Let’s take the giants back from kids movies. Let’s get some supersized heroes. Let’s get The Rock in more movies. There’s no reason not to. The guy can handle all the ass kicking and action, look the part, and read well enough to recite dialog. Forget the small fries. Let’s not bother with little ninjas and scrappy fighters. It’s time for the return of the gladiator, the return of The Rock. Because right now, seeing Johnson in so few action movies and so many family films, I go past my boiling point because I know there is an action star in Dwayne Johnson.