"Welcome To The Jungle"
THERE ARE absolutely no pretensions about this Columbia Tri-Star production showcasing Dwayne Johnson, the ex-wrestler and now popularly known as The Rock. It is just meant to be a fun, action film with traces of comedy to fill some hours of a day.
But if you do chance to see, it is unlikely that you will be bored. The locales, the characters and the action sequences violent and bone-crunching no doubt all add up to one of those mindless ventures (directed by Peter Berg) where you can munch your popcorn or talk on the mobile and still not miss much of the story (RJ Stewart, James Vanderbilt). The film moves blithely and makes no demands on its audience.
The Rock plays Beck, a retriever yes, someone who is paid to get things back. Which he does very well, thanks to his superb physical strength and unflinching courage. But he now wants out and start a restaurant. He asks his boss to free him and give him his money.
The boss is one heck of a guy.Hedoes not haveany control over his son Travis (Seann William Scott) who is traipsing somewhere in Brazil, and wants him to come home. So he tells Beck to do this last assignment and ``you walk out of this door a free man.''
Beck is soon on a bumpy flight over the lush Amazon jungles with a Scotsman with an accent only he can understand. Bumping and grinding in a small aircraft that looks dangerously about to crash, the pilot skims over cattle and lands on a strip from where Beck carries on.
But the jungle is not just filled with strange animals and reptiles there is Travis who claims to know where one can find a rare object the valued Gato Diablo, then there is the mad mine owner Hatcher (Christopher Walken) who is after anyone who will take Travis away from leading the way to the treasure. And then there is Mariana (Rosario Dawson), the sultry rebel and bartender who makes a deal that the idol be returned to the natives for worship and eventual prosperity and freedom.
Beck gets into action. Not only does he have to keep Travis with him but has also to fight tiny rebels which has been done very well and with humour too and also get caught in traps that hang the two upside down while frenzied monkeys display their mating tendencies, and roll down steep hillsides.
Thus they all run around the vast beautifully picturised jungle trying to get at each other's throat. Much of the humour rests on the Travis-Beck interaction.
You'd think The Rock would be expressionless and just indulging in all the vibrant stunts and action. But no. He does manage to bring in some heart to the character. Scott is the incorrigible rascal. Travis is adequate. Poor guy gets thrashed all the time. You'd also expect some kind of romance with such a strong woman around. But that does not happen. All three are in it for the time and move on when each finds the goal. Walken brings in a brand of evil that is droll he is petulant, mostly a coward, but dangerous too. Walken does a good job.
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