It’s safe to say when Dwayne Johnson — also known as “The Rock” — gets his lifetime achievement award 25 years from now Baywatch (2017) won’t be on the highlight reel.
The new action comedy confirms the ex-wrestler’s screen appeal, but that’s more or less it. Good thing Johnson has plenty of superior screen efforts to his name so far.
Just a few years ago, The Rock attempted to parlay his wrestling fame into a movie career. He had his hulking frame and an eyebrow he couldn’t stop arching.
Some thought that was it. He proved them all wrong. So, despite Baywatch‘s less than impressive laugh quotient, here are five movies where Johnson truly shined.
1. San Andreas (2015).
Is this 2015 hit, with a sequel on the way, a great movie? Oh, heck no! It’s still a sturdy star vehicle for Johnson. He holds it together by sheer force of will, from the logic-defying action to the moments where we’re supposed to get all weepy for the folks in harm’s way.
That we do is a testament to Johnson’s growing screen clout. And the film would fit snugly into the ’80s action scene with nary a tweak. That’s never a bad thing.
2. Furious 7 (2015).
The sequel marked Johnson’s third appearance in a Furious sequel. This time, he truly makes his mark. His gargantuan frame gets some superhero-worthy action sequences. You need skill and grace to pull off those action set pieces. That’s right in Johnson’s wheelhouse.
In short, he’s now an integral part of the “Furious” franchise machine.
3. Moana (2016).
It’s easy to scoff at an actor’s performance in an animated film. They just show up, read their lines and cash their gaudy paycheck, right?
Not so fast.
Johnson’s Maui is like a living extension of his brand. He’s over the top, willing to look silly for a laugh but ultimately dependable. And huge. Natch. And while Barry Manilow shouldn’t fear the competition, Johnson even croons a catchy song in the process.
“You’re Welcome,” indeed.
4. The Rundown (2003).
You think trading quips with Stifler is easy?
Johnson dabbled in action-comedy for the first time in this breezy romp from director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, 2013). It’s hardly a classic, but it’s the kind of movie you stumble on channel surfing and refuses to let you go.
Paired with the funny Seann William Scott of American Pie fame, Johnson shows signs of maturing into the action movie god to come.
5. Snitch (2013).
The ex-wrestler was a certified movie star when this 2013 actioner hit theaters. So when it only hauled in $42 million it showed the limits to his box office brand.
That’s a shame, since this is a solid showcase for what Johnson does best. Break stuff without boring us during the emotional moments. The twist? Johnson isn’t a superheroic figure here. He’s just a dad (the size of a small mountain) trying to protect his son.