SCORE: 1 star (out of 4)
There was a moment there in the theater when everything was going just right. The characters had cool, intriguing things to say and do. Carefully-crafted suspense hung over every scene. I couldn’t get enough of what I was seeing, and I needed more.
And then the trailer for the bank-robbing magicians movie Now You See Me ended and Snitch started wafting its stank from the screen.
This is one of those rabble-rousing message movies that takes something it considers to be an important social issue, takes pity on a victim and then trots out the Rock to kick its ass, shoot it in the face, run over it with a mack truck, give it the People’s Elbow, then kick its ass some more.
The poor, pitiable victims in this case are drug dealers, which the movie teaches are Timmy-like innocents who get tossed down the well by the mean ‘ol DEA, with nary a Lassie to come to the rescue.
The horror! As the tale of woe begins, a man-child we’ll call Baby The Rock (Rafi Gavron) is Skyping with his BFF about overnighting him a package of happy pills. The next scene, Baby The Rock opens up the package, realizes it’s got a tracking sensor, then busts out the window to run around like he’s playing Vice City with a four-star criminal rating as cops chase him around this way and that.
So down the well Baby The Rock goes, ripped away from a life of Nintendo and jackoff magazines to the naughty world of Caged Heat, Alpha Male Edition. Dastardly federal laws make sure even an innocent, first-time possessor-with-intent-to-distributor like himself will be locked away for 10 years.
The Rock, who now calls himself Dwayne Johnson because he wants to be taken as a serious actor who stars in important films such as Tooth Fairy and Race to Witch Mountain, plays the kid’s dad, a big-time trucking company magnate who lectures Baby The Rock about taking responsibility for his life. Then The Rock contradicts himself with his actions, telling the boy to hold on to the soap for a few days and let Daddy take care of everything.
He shoots the U.S. Attorney a People’s Eyebrow and offers a deal: “If I can go track down one of them drug dealers y’all folks are always trying to catch, how’s about you let mah boy go?”
“Deal!” goes the attorney, aaand we’re off.
Unlikely, you think? The movie assures us this is the truth, because it’s BASED ON ACTUAL EVENTS. So that settles that.
The rest of the movie is a blur of truck-racing, sneaking, shooting and assorted grunts of fear, exasperation and relief. I won’t get into specifics, not so much out of respect for potential spoilers but so as to not make your eyes bleed.
It’s enough to say this story fell out of the stupid tree, hit every other branch on the way down, then was impaled by a splintery fence post before it died and was torn apart by coyotes.
The incredibly moronic premise has no heft or momentum. Not a moment is believable and the whole thing just hurts. You’re not supposed to feel bad for multi-bajillionaires who are stronger and smarter than you and star in lots of movies, but I’ve got nothing but pity for The Rock for getting stuck in nonsense like this.
Since no star has been able to rip the action king crown away from the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis, those guys are forced to keep coming out and pumping out crap like Bullet to the Head and A Good Day to Die Hard, which is basically their way of being the nice, gentle dad and letting their boy – who really does have the talent and personality to make something of himself — win a game for once and get some confidence going. The crown was waiting there for The Rock, as it has been for the past decade-plus of his disappointing acting career, but nah, he comes out with this sad excuse for an action flick.
It’s not just Timmy and Baby The Rock who are stuck down a well. It’s The Rock himself, and the only one who’s capable of rescuing him (himself) isn’t much interested.
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, Rafi Gavron and Michael Kenneth Williams. Written by Justin Haythe and Ric Roman Waugh. Directed by Waugh. Rated PG-13. 112 minutes.