Snitch (Movie Review) – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rises above in a surprisingly good movie

Snitch. 2013. MPAA: PG-13 (for language, violence, and some drug content). Starring Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Jon Bernthal, Rafi Gavron, and Michael Kenneth Williams. Written by Justin Haythe and Ric Roman Waugh. Directed by Ric Roman Waugh.

Snitch is the first of a few 2013 releases to feature Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Later we will get G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Pain & Gain, and Fast & Furious 6. I am not anticipating Pain & Gain, mainly because I despise Michael Bay as a director, but I am stoked for the other two; yes, even Fast & Furious 6. But ever since I saw the poster for Snitch, I had no interest in it. I thought it looked like a lousy excuse to put “The Rock” in a movie and have him kill some people to draw in the crowds. I saw Snitch, and believe it or not, it isn’t half bad.

I actually really liked Snitch. Granted, it’s not without its problems, but the good outweighs the bad, and I was genuinely surprised by how good this movie was. I like “The Rock” a lot, don’t get me wrong, but I have found that in the past he has been this wrestler turned actor that offers up some sub par performances just to draw in some extra bucks. He transformed by mindset in Snitch. He is no longer “The Rock.” He is now Dwayne Johnson. The script for this film, while it does have some pacing issues, is overall the type of script Johnson needed to truly take a step above his usual performance rate, and thankfully he got it. There were a few scenes in this film that actually brought me to tears, which was completely unexpected to me, and left me saying to myself, “Why am I crying in Snitch?” But it happened, and I am very shocked to be saying that. As for the supporting cast, I have no real complaints, except for the performance of Melina Kanakaredes, which I found to be a little over the top in some scenes and overall unappealing. I found Jon Bernthal to be a really good actor in this film, even though I thought his character’s personal life was a little uninteresting compared to that of Johnson’s character. I really bought into Michael K. Williams’ performance as a drug lord in this movie, too.

Snitch is directed by Ric Roman Waugh, who doesn’t necessarily have a good round of movies under his belt, even though he did work stunts for some pretty good films in the past. And even though this film isn’t directed to perfection by any means, this is certainly Waugh’s standout. The main complaint I can offer about his direction is that is a little too shaky in some scenes, especially that of a chase scene in the first act of the film. It almost got into Alex Cross territory. Thankfully, he got it together and things leveled out, because the rest of the movie is directed smoothly.

FINAL VERDICT: “The Rock” finally earns his name as Dwayne Johnson in Snitch, a surprisingly entertaining film that deviates greatly from the standard “Rock” action flicks, and focuses more on character and storyline; and let’s face it: after last weekend’s Die Hard movie, we’ll take that any day. (B)

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