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Review

‘Snitch’ brings intensity, lacks in full potential

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March 7, 2013

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson pulls off one of his strongest performances in his latest movie. Over the years, I have come to like Johnson in movies. Ever since his old days in wrestling, the man has a personality for both the ring and the big screen. Though he is not one of the best actors by any means, he’s probably the best actor to come out of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) in forever, which is saying a lot since most wrestlers who try acting are terrible.

Although Johnson has not had a ton of memorable performances in his career, his acting in his new movie “Snitch” stands out in his resume unlike his past films, which is mainly being a tough wise guy and in children’s movies. This time, he actually gives a thoughtful performance, probably one of the best in his career.

Snitch stars Dwayne Johnson.
“Snitch” stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

In the movie, Johnson plays John Matthews, a construction company owner whose son Jason (Rafi Gavron) gets busted by the Drug Enforcement Administration for accepting a shipment of drugs who gets set up by his own friend to save his own life.

Jason could face up to 10 years in prison. However the prosecutor (Susan Sarandon) will reduce the sentence if the teenager snitches. Jason refuses, and John decides to volunteer and infiltrate a drug cartel.

John then gets himself in a situation to protect his son. Here Johnson is not playing as a macho man or Navy SEAL like in past movies, and using his athletic moves and bulgy biceps to get out of a situation. Instead, Johnson acts like an ordinary Joe trying to save his son’s life.

Although not to give away too much of the plot, one of the best moments is where John encounters a mid-level dealer (Michael Kenneth Williams). John gets a pistol shoved in his face and raises his hands in fear. In a rare instance, Johnson shows vulnerability, something moviegoers are not used to seeing in the famous pro wrestler.

What is more interesting is that the main action doesn’t start until about an hour into the movie. However, we do not see John running in killing bad guys or anything like that. Instead, we see John in sheer panic, causing collateral damage.

Throughout the movie, I witnessed moments where John seemed helpless and was not sure what he was going to do. I thought it was nice to see more emotional depth in Johnson’s character, showing off his acting skills, rather than just fighting all the time.

There was a lot of good in this movie. With performances from Sarandon as a prosecutor, and Benjamin Bratt’s performance as a cartel kingpin, both were nice, but not as effective as Johnson’s presence in the movie.

I thought Johnson put on a good show, probably one of his finest performances. He showed true color and didn’t provide the persona that of some tough guy juiced on steroids.

Personally I admire Johnson’s work, even in his bad movies. He certainly is a rising star in the industry. Although he’s not one of the best actors to come around in a long time, he definitely played a convincing role, and hopefully Johnson shows more acting potential in future films.

Adam Tilson is a student at UW-River Falls who is originally from Neillsville, Wis. He loves playing video games, watching movies -- especially classics, fishing in the summer and trying new activities.