If only everything in life was as much fun as The Rock. The charming, athletic, chat show-pleasing celebrity has progressed from wrestling superstar to one of the biggest box-office stars in the world. Sadly, the films he has been involved in recently are nowhere near as good as he is. In fact, has Dwayne Johnson ever led a good film? Once you’ve seen Central Intelligence, his latest underwhelming release, you’ll have to keep searching for that rarity…
has Dwayne Johnson ever led a good film?
Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) was once the king of his college. He was a sporting goliath despite his small stature, had a hot girlfriend and even looked out for those less fortunate than him. One of those picked on by bullies was Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson), an overweight student who suffered the indignity of being stripped naked and thrust into an assembly hall full of his peers. The incident changed Stone, and he soon disappeared off the radar.
Years later, Calvin is a corporate accountant who has married his high-school sweetheart, but lost his spark. When he receives a random Facebook request from Stone on the eve of a college reunion, Joyner takes his first impulsive decision in years and agrees to meeting his old acquaintance. Stone, it turns out, is now a huge, muscular overachiever. It later turns out he’s a C.I.A operative on the run; the prime suspect in the murder of a former partner.
Calvin finds himself drawn into a world of gunfights, car chases and brutal fist fights. It’s something he initially fears and tries desperately to get rid of Bob and protect his family, but does he actually secretly crave the change in pace in his own life?
The odd couple paring of The Rock and the diminutive comedian makes for an amusing sight for the first few minutes of the film. The marketing has come up with a smart tag line, which involves ‘a little Hart and a big Johnson’. Sadly, this is the only clever thing about the movie which quickly descends into instantly forgettable nonsense. The scenes of Hart and Johnson as youngsters is amusing enough, although the effects are pretty poor, but it’s all downhill after this.
The moral compass of this movie is also all over the place. Calvin has a great life, but wants even more. He is greedy, and on a lot of levels, he is also selfish. It’s the same character Hart played in Ride Along, a guy who is already doing extremely well, yet by the end of the movie, has even more. It’s ridiculous wish-fulfilment, and in Central Intelligence we get to see it twice.
It’s depressing that a Hollywood film still operates on this level.
Bob Stone goes from chubby loser to the primed slab of beef that is The Rock. The message here is, physical change is crucial to a happier life. It’s depressing that a Hollywood film still operates on this level. Worse still is that a film like this is still getting made. It’s unfunny, lacks intelligence (pardon the pun), and reminds us that even though he is still hugely popular, Dwayne Johnson is churning out a lot of rubbish.
He has been in good films in the past, but always as part of an ensemble. He has starred in a handful of decent movies, ones that are hardly seen by anyone, but for the most part he is a brand that producers slap onto any old product and expect a healthy return. So get ready for Central Intelligence 2, because The Rock said so.