You can’t fault Welcome to the Jungle for playing to it’s strengths. If you have Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: get him to beat people up. If you have Sean William Scott: have him be an annoying, motor-mouth and if you need a believable villain: Christopher Walken will always deliver. The cast alone should be enough to intrigue you about this action-comedy.
As an action-comedy it is absolutely solid. The direction is very good, with a stylish opening that introduces Johnson’s character, Beck, very well. He is bounty-hunting, wannabe chef who abhors guns but has a natural ability with violence. Whenever he is delivering “smackdown” the film is enjoyable and exciting, and Welcome to the Jungle finds plenty of ways to get The Rock swinging fists. From the opening showdown in a nightclub, to a cool sequence involving whip-wielding attackers and even monkeys in the heart of the jungle: Johnson shows some of the early promise that would make him one of the biggest stars today.
It can’t all be “ass-whooping” though and there must be some sort of story. The target that Johnson’s Beck has to find is the annoying, conniving and sly Travis played by Sean William Scott. Scott plays the sort of role that made him a leading man in the early noughties and you can’t deny there is some likeability to the way he talks his way out of situations. His pairing with The Rock is a good one and although their chemistry isn’t the sort you are desperate to see again, they play-off each other very well and make for some decent comedy along the way.
The situations that the movie places our two principle characters into manage to play to their individual strengths, from an Indiana Jones-lite temple sequence through to a battle between Johnson and martial-arts capable rebels. It shoots from one action set-piece to another and never dwells long enough for you to start thinking about the story.
This is a good thing. The story is as paper-thin as you’d expect it to be. It acts as nothing more than a way to get the characters from one action sequence to another. Even Christopher Walken realises how throw-away this movie is and cruises through his villainous role. Luckily, even Walken on auto-pilot is highly watchable.
If you want a movie which is fun, mindless and enjoyable with nothing that will offend or more importantly, bore-you, than you can do a lot worse than Welcome to the Jungle.
Overall, Welcome to the Jungle ably plays to it’s strengths. It delivers a well-acted action-comedy that has plenty of decent set-pieces to entertain. The cast is impressive and fill their roles well, which manages to distract from the lacklustre, predictable story.
Rating – 3
(1 – AWFUL, 2 – AVERAGE, 3 – GOOD, 4 – GREAT, 5! – MUST SEE)
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