Dwayne "Do we still call him The Rock?" Johnson plays the based-on-real-life character John Matthews, loving family man and all round nice guy. His son Jason (Rafi Gavron) is unfairly implicated in a drugs bust, and due to a mix of bad luck and harsh new anti-drugs laws, gets put in prison with a hefty sentence. Criminal prosecutor Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon) offers him a reduced sentence in exchange for information on other drugs dealers, but not knowing any first hand, Jason has nothing to offer. In exchange, John volunteers to go undercover for the DEA and potentially bring down a major local drug trafficker if it means his son can go free.
First things first, this is not the invincible, action hero mode we're used to from Johnson. This isn't The Rock from Fast Five; this is The Rock from the likes of his smaller movies like Walking Tall. He does a good job with acting vulnerable, and an even better job at hiding his natural physical giganticness. He's also surrounded by a pretty impressive cast list, as along with Sarandon there's the likes of Barry Pepper as a haggard DEA agent, Michael Kenneth Williams (best known as Omar from The Wire) and Benjamin Bratt as the bad guy drug dealers, and Jon Berenthal (The Walking Dead's Shane Walsh) as an ex-con caught up trying to go straight.
Unfortunately the story they've all been dropped into is almost hypnotically dull. There is no real sense of danger to any of the events, as even though he's played down his indestructability, we all know that no movie in its right mind is going to kill off The Rock. There are no plot deviations, not a single original idea, and just because it's based on a true story, doesn't make it a story worth telling.
Things pick up towards the end with the best Truck Versus Cars finale since Breakdown, but this is being sold as a drama-thriller with very little drama and even fewer thrills. As your informant, we're advising you to give this a miss.
Story by Rory Cashin | 16:28 | Monday 14th October 2013 | DVD review