Driver's EDitorial #18: Disney, Please Release Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson!
Our Driver’s EDitorial is a weekly column designed to express our opinion on something going on in Hollywood today. Sometimes we whine and complain about something we wish was different, other times we heap praise on the system for getting it right.
Back in the day there was a short period in my life where I watched WWF wrestling (when it was still WWF). I’m embarrassed to say that I partook in this activity because of a guy but there it is. And although I look back with a bit of shame I will admit that I enjoyed watching Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson “laying the smack down” and giving “the People’s Elbow” to his opponents as well as some of the other “athletes”. But The Rock set himself apart from the rest of the “cast” in the wrestling world because he was a true entertainer, and he was so much fun to watch.
At the time I thought to myself, “Hey this guy is entertaining-he should be in movies.” He has the presence and charisma to lead a feature film. Skip ahead to the Summer of 2001 where we see Mr. Johnson in his breakout role in the blockbuster THE MUMMY RETURNS, a small part but he did a great job (minus the CGI). So when he signed that contract for THE SCORPION KING I was sure he was going to be the next action star following in the footsteps of the greats like Schwarzenegger and Stallone…so what happened?
You see, since Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone left the over-the-top, but still fun action movie world, we haven’t seen their replacements. Yeah, we have Tom Cruise and Matt Damon running around shooting people, but there’s just something satisfying in watching an over-muscled, dimwitted guy beat the heck out of someone. But you can’t just throw in any guy on steroids, you have to have someone with charisma and charm that can say those cheesy one-liners with a straight face. Arnold and Sly filled those roles with unprecedented success, but the void isn’t the fault of a lack of able bodies, the problem is that no one seems to want to fill the void. That’s where Dwayne Johnson was supposed to step in.
He seemed to be going somewhat strong with roles in WALKING TALL, DOOM and GRINDIRON GANG. Not great movies, but movies that showcased his toughness and coolness. I didn’t mind him in GET SMART because even Sly and Arnold did their comedies, but then he did RACE TO WITCHMOUNTAIN and THE GAME PLAN. This is when something happened. He fell into the Disney trap. Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney and am usually the one who defends those kiddie type movies, but I can’t tolerate their abduction of potential action stars like Dwayne Johnson or Vin Diesel (a whole other story). When I saw that Johnson was going to star in the 2010 film TOOTH FAIRY, his third kids movie, I knew something had to be said.
With action films behind him like DOOM and the RUNDOWN, I think Mr. Johnson has shed his wrestling persona and catapulted into a legit Hollywood actor. He’s a great leading man with a knack for stunts so why isn’t he doing more action type movies instead of ankle biter films? I blame this on Disney. All I can think is that they are throwing large sums of money his way and hopefully after he pads his bank account he will begin making movies that will let him go down in Hollywood history as an action star—not a big screen babysitter.