Career Peak – The point in an actor, actress or director’s career when they have given their best performance, reaching a point they will probably never match again!
The idea is to examine a person’s film or television career and decide when their career peak was; the moment that they gave their best performance or produced their best work. This could be with their first movie; it could also be yet to come.
Dwayne Johnson is arguably the world’s biggest movie star. He has two major summer blockbusters under his belt this year, both having received large box-office success if not critical success, and he is one of the most popular social media individuals too. Not bad for a man who went from professional wrestling to single-handedly changing the prospects of key franchises. The question is, has his career peaked with this blockbuster year or is there more to come?
Dwayne Johnson – Career Peak: Hasn’t Happened Yet
Dwayne Johnson is making good movies but hasn’t had “that” performance yet. What he has managed to do is craft a career of movies which gives him a vast range of experience. Considering his background, Johnson didn’t just choose to focus on the action movies (although he has done a fair few of them) but show that he has acting talent to go with the fight sequences.
Although his career started with generic action roles, these roles showed he was a headliner. He made generic movies like The Scorpion King and Walking Tall very watchable and even flexed his action-comedy muscles in The Rundown (Welcome to the Jungle for UK audiences).
To his credit, Johnson also dipped his toe in the dramatic or straight comedy area too. Solid acting performances in both Gridiron Gang and Get Smart were a world away from his The Rock persona and although they become long forgotten in his IMDB list, they still show early promise of a more dramatic acting star.
Like all action stars, he played on the tough guy persona and made many a family film. From The Tooth Fairy to The Game Plan to Planet 51, all these films would show he could handle cutey comedy and aren’t necessarily the most embarrassing movies on his resume. So far, no career peak. In fact, Johnson was always very good at keeping his schedule busy and his stock rising. So from Racing to Witch Mountain through to kicking-ass in Faster, Johnson was never far from our screens.
You could argue his early career peak came when he was affectionately known as “Franchise Viagra.” This is because Johnson would inject dying or even dead franchises with enough star-power to revive them at the box office and in come cases, even critically. GI: Joe and the Journey movies were helped by his talents but Fast and Furious would be where his real success shone, making the movie watchable and helping create the billion-dollar franchise it has become today.
This over-shadowed the more low-key, low-budget work that Johnson was doing as well. This year saw the release of Snitch and Pain & Gain. Both very good films and both different types of Dwayne Johnson performance. In Snitch he is the serious, hard-working ordinary guy trying to help his imprisoned son while in Pain & Gain he plays a stupid, Christian, violent cocaine addict and does so brilliantly. It seems like a dark role but Johnson throws himself into it and is very funny. Unfortunately, while Pain & Gain would get critical response, Fast and Furious would get box office success and it was clear which direction Johnson’s career would now go.
The latest phase of Johnson’s career is the action-star. Johnson actually plays the more classic action star in roles which would have been filled by Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the 80s. From San Andreas, through to Central Intelligence to the more recent Skyscraper, Johnson has carved out a niche in classic, action hero roles and dominates the box office with his performances.
None of them have been his defining role though. He hasn’t yet had the role which either changed his career or made him the recognised actor he could be. Each star has that role, even action stars, be it Schwarzenegger as Terminator, Stallone as Rambo (or Rocky) or even Jean Claude Van Damme and the Kickboxer movies. Johnson’s is yet to come but his slate is comfortably full, with sequels to Jumanji and San Andreas on his slate, a new Disney movie in Jungle Cruise and even a Fast and Furious spin-off with Hobbs and Shaw. Johnson is even taking on his own iconic characters, namely Black Adam in the Shazam movie and Doc Savage.
Overall, Johnson is the biggest star of the moment and it is clear to see why. He is adept at action movies, can do comedy and drama when needed and is likeable off the camera as much as on it. His career hasn’t peaked yet but when it does it will be with an iconic, defining role.