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HD DVD Review: The Rundown

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If there is such a thing as paint-by-numbers movie making, The Rundown is a perfect example. It's so cliched, so predictable, and so generic, you can actually guess half the dialogue and plot points before they even happen. However, when it's this much fun, who cares?

The Rock/Dwayne Johnson plays Beck, a bounty hunter type who's tiring of the business and wants out. He agrees to one last job to earn $250,000, enough to realize his dream of opening his own restaurant. That job leads him into the heart of the Amazon to retrieve Travis, played hilariously as always by Sean William Scott. Things don't pan out quite as easily as Beck had planned.

What follows are some of the most ludicrous action sequences ever put on film, using everything from CG to "wire-fu." It's dumb, it's fun, and it's a great ride for the full hour-and-a-half. Some solid dialogue exchanges fill in the non-action sequences, and make Rundown worth watching twice.

While certainly not a film for anyone who believes art house movies are the only ones worth watching, this is a mainstream movie where you could put your mind at ease and just laugh. It's not a classic actioner, but it's more than a worthwhile way to kill almost two hours.

Highly grainy, this HD DVD transfer maintains the heavy color saturation the movie was given. Some inconsistent detail levels are occasionally obscured for the better by rich, deep black levels. This is a decent upgrade for those who love the movie and need to replace the DVD edition, but this is hardly top tier material.

Active surround work is the hallmark of this Dolby Digital Plus mix. A small stampede early on is an example of how the disc handles bass. Jungle sounds raging from birds singing to animals yelling, are always evident. It’s immersive, fun, accurate, and superb all around.

Two commentaries start off the extras, one from director Peter Berg and the Rock, the other with producers Kevin Misher and Marc Abraham. Rumble in the Jungle is a 10 minute making of, mostly promotional. The Amazon: Hawaii Style takes a look at how you create a different part of the world without actually shooting there.

Appetite for Destruction runs for a little over eight minutes looks at the films “big boom” scene. There’s some great behind-the-scenes footage here. The Rundown Uncensored lasts for six minutes, a funny parody about stories that happened on the set with the baboons.

Running Down the Town discusses the town set and how it was done. Walken’s World is a piece on one of film’s truly great villains. Finally, nearly 14 minutes of deleted scenes finish off a nicely rounded set of extras.

While it may have been The Mummy Returns that began the Rock’s movie career, it was Rundown that broke Dwayne Johnson into the spotlight. The less said for The Scorpion King the better, and his career hasn’t been littered with great movies, but this buddy flick was a fine place to start.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.