First off, I’m a huge Arnie fan. I love the action flick and my hero of action is Arnie with Willis coming a close second. So when I heard that Welcome to the Jungle represented Arnie handing the mantle to some WWF wrestler I was extremely disappointed, how could anyone entertain me as Arnie had?
Well I never did see Jungle, but I have just watched Walking Tall and met this Rock fella, and you know what? I’m impressed. If this is the guy to carry on what Arnie did, I’m with him all the way.
In this movie Rock can act, and act well. He’s big and really grabs a hold of the action hero role, but on top of that he’s personable, engaging and very believable. He has a great screen presence, his lines aren’t delivered flat, there’s not any overacting and he’s very real in the role.
What’s more surprising is that Johnny Knocksville isn’t that bad either. I’ve heard many negative things about this guys acting, but in this movie he doesn’t do too badly. Sure, he does look a little awkward in some scenes but overall he’s very competent.
Neal McDonough who I last saw in the TV show called Boomtown is, if it wasn’t for Rocks surprising performance, the star of the film. Essentially playing his character from Boomtown but without any of the good characters aspects, he’s mean and ruthless here, a part he plays superbly well.
The story does have an older more western or fifties feel to it, and this stands it in good stead making it feel less like a modern action movie and more of a character based story. Something it carries off really well and helped by the large performances of the actors involved. It also does a good job of building tension and developing the story at a good pace.
There’s a good filming style in the movie, simple and realistic, helping the feel of the movie along leaps and bounds. That seems to come through on everything from the camera work to the dialogue and from the fight scenes to the sometimes excellent editing – most memorable as the Rock drives through town after his second Casino visit. The fight scenes benefit most from this style, giving a wide view of very realistic hand to hand fighting which often turns out to be quite brutal. The characters pick up anything to fight with and there’s no stylish moves here. They are tough, vicious and the characters get seriously hurt.
Presented: Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic
In keeping with the realistic tone of the film the picture is filled with natural colours and lighting, nothing is over saturated and it’s clear and sharp throughout.
Presented: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0
The audio is good and particularly strong during some of the fight sequences. It also features a soundtrack which matches the setting and tone of the film well.
Presented: Audio commentary from director Kevin Bray, director of photography Glen MacPherson and editor Robert Ivision, Audio commentary with star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Alternative ending, Outtakes, ‘Stunts’ featurette introduced by The Rock, Photo gallery, Theatrical trailer
The deleted scenes and outtakes are interesting but not that entertaining or overly informative, apart from the Rock’s accidental breast grab. The same applies to the alternative ending which is a little bit funny, but nothing revealing about the editing decisions.
The audio commentaries are the strong part of this DVD offering, with one from the Director, Director of Photography and Editor, and the other from the man himself, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Although the filmmakers commentary is informative, the commentary from the Rock is as much of a surprise as the movie itself. It’s both amusing and insightful for the movie making process as well as the person himself. Surprisingly humble, self depreciating and open, the commentary lets you get to know the Rock as well as a ton of facts about the movie and the actors. This guy can talk!
I saw the first comment about this movie on IMDB and it slates it, calling it a mindless action movie. Quite frankly that’s rubbish. This movie has a lot more to it that most action flicks and has a fair chunk of characterisation over them too. It’s quite a morale tale, as well as one based on a true life story, and apparently it’s quite true to the real story. However it does have its fair share of action, but something that stands out for the movie is the realism in which it is portrayed and shot. There are still some traditional action scenes, but for the most part it keeps it grounded and tells a good tale that does give you a warm feeling. Entertainment with a good message, I like it.
Also, for your consideration, is the performance of the Rock. Not only does he prove himself to be a great action hero, but he also surprises you in his acting ability. I was wholly taken in by him and really latched onto his performance. Don’t forget we also have the delights of McDonough as his adversary.
It’s well shot, well acted, and a good entertaining story with more meat than you would expect. Don’t write this off as a simple action movie, look deeper, give it a chance, and check out the audio commentary by the Rock.