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Mollywood BLVD: You Can’t Break The People’s Stride

April 10, 2018

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has an appeal among a wide audience.

From his days in the WWF/WWE to his film career, he has been a mainstay in pop culture for the past two decades. It was a back injury that originally kept him from the NFL, but that didn’t stop him from making his mark on the world of sports and entertainment.

He earned People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” title in 2016, so there is no doubt his looks add to his overall appeal, but he is truly the people’s champ. He seems kind of like the nice jock who stuck up for the nerds in high school. Hardly anyone has anything bad to say about the guy. When he mentioned a possible run for president, no one was mad about it. I imagine him finishing press conferences with the “people’s elbow.”

Some have criticized the depth of his acting chops, but IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW WELL HE ACTS.  He gets the ratings. That being said, while he would likely be classified more as an entertainer, his recent HBO series “Ballers” and impressive film and production catalogue prove that he intends to earn his place in Hollywood.

His latest project, the classic game-to-modern day movie adaptation, “Rampage,” opens in theatres April 20. In it, Johnson plays a Primatologist, Davis Okoye, which is totally believable; I mean, don’t all doctors who study apes look like bodybuilders? Anyway, Okoye shares an unshakable bond with an extraordinary and intelligent silverback gorilla named George. But, as to be expected, an experiment goes vastly awry and George transforms into a raging monster. Then other monsters are also uncovered. And it becomes every other movie starring Dwayne Jonson, wherein he needs to halt a global catastrophe. I am sure the film will perform well, as most of his tend to do.

Seriously, if you have a big budget film and want to break even, make sure you cast this guy. Recently Johnson starred in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017). With an audience score of 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it is no surprise that the reboot of Jumanji, which was originally released in 1994 starring Robin Williams, did quite well in the Box Office. The latest installment is definitely geared toward the modern audience. Instead of a board game, high school students get sucked into a video game, and Johnson gives one of his best acting performances as a teenage boy. It grossed around $400 million in its extended theatre run.

He has always had a knack for making people laugh, from his time in the wrestling ring, with his unforgettably animated facial expressions and ridiculous catch phrases, to his most recent crack at a comedy, Baywatch (2017). The film was critically panned, earning an abysmal 19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. In response to one critic’s review,  Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock on Twitter) came out swinging, tweeting :

“Bold move from this critic who watched #Baywatch w/ other critics who laughed their a** off,  but then decide to trash it publicly.”

He was executive producer to the film, so it was clearly a touchy subject but hey, with his Twitter skills, maybe he could be president after all.

The Fast & Furious franchise made a wise move when they added him to their roster as Special Agent Hobbs for “Fast Five” (2011). Vin Diesel is the trademark actor in the Fast & Furious franchise, but adding “The Rock” made sense, and helped revive a franchise that was already exhausted after four films. In the final scenes of the most recent installment, “F8: Fate of the Furious,” Hobbs reveals he has retired, leading some to wonder if he will return for “Fast 9,” expected to be released in April 2019. I don’t see why not. Retired doesn’t mean we have seen the last of Hobbs … kind of like “one last ride” meant, actually, let’s milk this for three more movies.  What we do know is he will star in another spinoff, titled “Hobbs & Shaw,” with a release date of July 2019, so it appears that he is keeping that cash cow rolling, regardless.

Other notable films starring “The Rock” (other than his appearance in the video for Wyclef’s 2000 hit “It Doesn’t Matter” – yeah, that happened), include “The Mummy Returns” (2001)”The Scorpion King” (2002), “The Game Plan” (2007), where he starred alongside his daughter, “Get Smart “(2008), “The Tooth Fairy” (2010), “Faster” (2010), “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” (2012), “Pain & Gain” (2013), “Hercules” (2014), “San Andrea”s (2015), “Central Intelligence” (2016) and “Disney’s Moana” (2016) where he voiced the character Maui.

Add Producer to his repertoire, the multi-faceted Johnson also lent producing credits to several of his recent films, including “Jumaniji: Welcome to the Jungle,” the aforementioned “Baywatch,” and his HBO series “Ballers,” but that is just the beginning.

It has been announced he will be executive producing the upcoming television series “The Titan Games,” in which he will also star, as well as producing sequels to San Andreas and Jumanji.  There were rumors that he would star in DC’s upcoming film “Shazam,” but they were dispelled last summer when it was confirmed that Johnson would be starring in a standalone film about Shazam’s antagonist, “Black Adam,” which he will also be producing, slated for a July 2019 release.

So … can you smell what the Rock is cooking?!
By Molly Penny



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