Movies: Dwayne Johnson Double Feature
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is the most successful wrestler-turned-actor ever. It's not hard to see why - like Hulk Hogan before him, you never get the sense Johnson is taking himself too seriously on camera. At the same time, though, he's proven to be a much better actor than Hogan. The Rock has good comic timing, as well as heaps of charisma, as shown by the following films:
Nick-at-Night was one of my favorite channels growing up, mostly because of "Get Smart." This TV series starred Don Adams, and it spoofed popular movie spies like James Bond. When they announced the remake starring Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, I winced. After all, TV-into-film adaptations are usually wretched (see "The Brady Bunch" for a sterling example). Thankfully, "Get Smart" isn't bad.
For one thing, the plot makes a lot more sense than most spy movies (heck, this movie is way more plausible than "Quantum of Solace"). A secret organization named KAOS has obtained nuclear warheads from Chechnyan rebels, and now they're threatening to strike on U.S. soil. Enter Maxwell Smart, an analyst tasked with tracking down the nukes and uncovering the whole operation.
The original series was interesting because Max was portrayed as "semi-competent" - he often loused things up because of his stupidity, and yet the villains were always defeated in the end (often because they were morons themselves). The movie is a bit different: Carrell's Maxwell Smart is a talented analyst and even a decent marksman, but he doesn't have any field experience. His foil is Agent 23 (played by Dwayne Johnson) - a savvy superspy who regularly has his way with the ladies. All in all, it's a fun movie.
One of Dwayne Johnson's first starring roles was in "The Rundown," an action comedy directed by Peter Berg. The movie concerns a loan enforcer named Beck who goes into the Amazon in order to retrieve the wayward son of his boss. Hijinks ensue, including a scenery-chewing villainous turn from Christopher Walken.
The script isn't very good, and Seann William Scott (Stifler from "American Pie") is as annoying as he's ever been. Without the Rock, the movie would be unwatchable, but Johnson's performance is so affable (projecting equal parts relaxed menace and honest courtesy) that you end up rooting for him even over the comic relief sidekick, which is rare in most action movies. It was this role that proved Dwayne Johnson could be a star, so I suppose it's worth watching based on that alone.