Advertisement

Film Review: 'Snitch' and its star the Rock are toned down just enough

February 22, 2013|By Andy Klein
  • Barry Pepper, Susan Sarandon and Dwayne Johnson star in "Snitch."
Barry Pepper, Susan Sarandon and Dwayne Johnson star… (Courtesy of Summit…)

There's been a big, new blow-'em-up action film nearly every week so far in this admittedly young year. Nearly all have been intended to showcase a 60-ish star — Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis — and nearly all were disappointments. Jason Statham's “Parker” was better; and Dwayne Johnson's “Snitch” is better yet. Are those two stars — 45 and 40, respectively — the new guard, coming to rescue us from the thought of “Die Hard 6”?

Johnson — formerly known as the Rock — has built his film career primarily in projects designed to emulate the work of the “old guard.” Near the beginning of 2003's “Rundown,” one of Johnson's earliest starring roles, Schwarzenegger is onscreen for about 10 seconds, exiting a club as Johnson enters and muttering “Have fun!” — a cute symbolic passing of the torch.

Johnson also gets points for his choice of supporting roles, primarily in comedies: He was frankly wonderful in “Be Cool,” the commercially unsuccessful sequel to “Get Shorty.”

Advertisement

In “Snitch,” he plays John Matthews, a self-made man with a successful hauling company, a happy second marriage and an unhappy first wife. His relatively smooth life is thrown offtrack, however, when Jason (Rafi Gavron), his 18-year-old son from the first marriage, is the fall guy in a drug bust that he had nothing to do with. The kid faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, unless he rats someone out — the same threat that forced his best friend to set him up.

Jason is insistent that he won't narc out the minor druggies he knows. He refuses to do unto others what has been done unto him. At the same time, it's clear that, in detention, he is immediately tagged as easy pickings for bullies, sadists and (implied but never confirmed) rapists.

The ruthless though not entirely evil U.S. Attorney (Susan Sarandon) says there's nothing to be done. The only way for Jason to get out is to cooperate in nailing a higher-up. Since he refuses, Dad offers himself as a surrogate: He'll nail someone on his own steam, thus fulfilling Jason's obligation. This sounds like a harebrained idea, but — in a development that requires more than a little suspension of disbelief — the U.S. attorney tells him to go ahead.

Glendale News-Press Articles Glendale News-Press Articles
|
|
|