The man formerly known as "that wrestler with the funny eyebrow who kept asking us to smell his cooking", Dwayne Johnson has gone on to become one of the biggest box office draws in cinema today. While other wrestlers have tried and failed at the acting game - Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Randy Couture - it's fair to say that Johnson brought something special with him to his movies that the other's didn't: the ability to actually act. This year alone has seen The Rock appear in no less than FIVE movies, including the upcoming Pain & Gain (review HERE), so we've decided to look back over his short but illustrious career to see how he came to be the go-to guy to play testosterone incarnate.
Now, we'll only be hitting the more important ones, so anyone looking for an extensive insight into his unknown films like Longshot and Empire State had best hold out for his autobiography. But for everyone else, here we go!
THE SCORPION KING (2002)
Budget: $60 million
Worldwide Box Office: $165 million
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 40%
Entertainment.ie's Hindsight Review: After cameo-ing at the start of The Mummy Returns (and then popping up as the CGI'd head and torso of the end level boss), The Rock took his first leading man role in this prequel to The Mummy series that features no mummies, but goes for a teen-friendly version of Conan. All too forgettable, primarily due to a messy, tonally inconsistent screenplay. Two Out Of Five.
Did You Smell What The Rock Was Cooking?: For his first feature to do rather well at the box office, many thought that this might be a bit of a fluke.
THE RUNDOWN aka WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (2003)
Budget: $85 million
Worldwide Box Office: $80 million
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%
Entertainment.ie's Hindsight Review: After showing that he could clobber on-screen just as well as he could in the ring, The Rock took to showing off his other talents, namely that rather fantastic comic-timing of his. Pairing him with Stifler was an inspired choice, even if audiences weren't all that pushed about the movie, this is something an overlooked gem. Four Out Of Five.
Did You Smell What The Rock Was Cooking?: Yes, we did. Perfectly mixing action with comedy would go on to be pretty much the cornerstones of his entire career.
WALKING TALL (2004)
Budget: $46 million
Worldwide Box Office: $57 million
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 25%
Entertainment.ie's Hindsight Review: This was The Rock attempting to be a leading male in a somewhat serious movie. We say somewhat, in that he still doles out justice with a very large piece of wood against people who sold drugs. The movie itself wasn't great by any means, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone, including the movie's writers, who could actually tell you anything that happened in between the action scenes. Two Out Of Five.
Did You Smell What The Rock Was Cooking?: After some big releases, this was The Rock's "indie" release, with no name-brand or recognisable co-stars to back him up. The movie flopped, but The Rock didn't, something that would happen again years later with Faster (2010) and Snitch (2013).
BE COOL (2005)
Budget: $53 million
Worldwide Box Office: $95 million
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 30%
Entertainment.ie's Hindsight Review: The sequel to the outstandingly cool Get Shorty actually forgot how to be cool itself, and remains one of the worst sequels ever made. The return of Travolta and De Vito, as well as introduction of some new big names (Uma Thurmann, Vince Vaughn) couldn't save this from awfulness, and is one of the few films that actually seems to get worse and worse as time goes on. One Out Of Five.
Did You Smell What The Rock Was Cooking?: As embarrassingly bad as the movie was, The Rock was far and away the best part of it. Playing a gay bodyguard who was obsessed with fashion, he was both hilarious and charismatic.
Budget: $60 million
Worldwide Box Office: $55 million
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 19%
Entertainment.ie's Hindsight Review: Video game adaptations are pretty bad at the best of times, and Doom added to the list of disappointing crossovers, especially considering it should've been a sure-thing as it was about aliens and monsters and space and stuff. But no, it was mostly all too ho-hum, except for that one scene where it went all First Person Shooter. That was pretty cool. Two Out Of Five.
Did You Smell What The Rock Was Cooking?: This was The Rock's first time playing a bad guy, and while the didn't exactly fit him all that well, it still showed that he was willing to push out his boundaries a little bit with each movie.
SOUTHLAND TALES (2006)
Budget: $17 million
Worldwide Box Office: $374,743
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 36%
Entertainment.ie's Hindsight Review: A massive, MASSIVE flop, this was director Richard Kelly's follow-up to Donnie Darko, and the universal reaction to it was "Buh?" Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, Justin Timberlake and others were in this admittedly messy but still very interesting existential sci-fi thriller drama. Definitely worth a re-assessment now that the dust has settled. Three Out Of Five.
Did You Smell What The Rock Was Cooking?: This was the most unimposing, vulnerable character that The Rock had ever played (check out that finger twitch of his), and while we had no real idea who his character was, we still enjoyed watching The Rock play him.
RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN (2009)
Budget: $50 million
Worldwide Box Office: $106 million
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 43%
Entertainment.ie's Hindsight Review: Another remake on The Rock's roster, this finds him playing a taxi man who gets caught up with two super-powered kids who may or may not be aliens. Some of the action scenes work out pretty well, but everything is so formulaic and predictable, you can probably tell how the movie is going to end by looking at the poster. Two Out Of Five.
Did You Smell What The Rock Was Cooking?: This was Johnson's first foray into the world of kids movies, and by playing it unsentimental (for the most part), he came out a winner. It's something that would work for him again in Journey To The Centre Of The Earth 2 (2012).
PLANET 51 (2009)
Budget: $70 million
Worldwide Box Office: $105 million
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 22%
Entertainment.ie's Hindsight Review: Be honest, have you ever heard of this? And if you have, can you even remember what it was about? Do you think even The Rock remembers lending his voice to this one? The plot was SO boring and the jokes were either too cutesy-poo or out-and-out offensive. It looked pretty, but we need more than that from our animation epics these days! Two Out Of Five.
Did You Smell What The Rock Was Cooking?: His first and only time to date to do vocal duties on an animated movie (although we reckon it's something he should give another shot), it once agains shows Johnson trying new things. Good for you, Dwayne!
TOOTH FAIRY (2010)
Budget: $48 million
Worldwide Box Office: $112 million
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 18%
Entertainment.ie's Hindsight Review: This is the kind of movie you would've seen Hulk Hogan do back in the day (remember Mr. Nanny??), or Adam Sandler do now. This was The Rock's version of Jingle All The Way – a movie for the kids that managed to make a sizeable profit despite the fact that it is shockingly bad. One Out Of Five.
Did You Smell What The Rock Was Cooking?: Far and away the worst movie that The Rock has ever made, let's hope he smelt how bad it was, and has subsequently learned his lesson.
FAST FIVE (2011)
Budget: $125 million
Worldwide Box Office: $626 million
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%
Entertainment.ie's Hindsight Review: We recently named this movie the Best Action Movie Of Our Generation, and that title still holds. Blisteringly entertaining, with some of the best stunts and set-pieces in years. Yeah, the plot doesn't really do much for us, but who cares when it's THIS much fun! Five Out Of Five.
Did You Smell What The Rock Was Cooking?: Injecting Johnson into the series got him the (self-titled) nickname of "franchise Viagra", something which held over for the not-as-good-but-still-very-good Fast & Furious 6 (2013), which is currently The Rock's biggest box office hit to date, with $785 million in the bank.
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION (2013)
Budget: $130 million
Worldwide Box Office: $371 million
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 28%
Entertainment.ie's Hindsight Review: A slightly lower critical score and only a slightly higher box office (even with the addition of 3D and IMAX) means that this was just as good/bad as the original Rise Of The Cobra. Messy action scenes and some really poor dialogue means that there is still a good G.I. Joe movie to be made, but this isn't it. Two Out Of Five.
Did You Smell What The Rock Was Cooking?: His early scenes with Channing Tatum where the best part of the movie (somebody put The Rock in Magic Mike 2, now!), and he made more of an impression than the sleep-walking Bruce Willis, but all in all, his "franchise Viagra" didn't manage to get it up this time round.
Looking forward, we can expect to see Dwayne in a multitude of potentially great movies: in 2014 he's playing the lead in Hercules: The Thracian Wars (with some stiff competition from Kellan Lutz playing the same character in Hercules 3D, also out in 2014), then he's got Journey 3: From The Earth To The Moon, there's talk of him playing Sinbad in Arabian Nights, and most excitingly, he's back for Fast & Furious 7. So if you thought he'd had your fill of The Rock in 2013, you ain't seen nothing yet!
PAIN AND GAIN: See it first this weekend August 24 & 25. At cinemas everywhere August 30th