The Rundown

Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, stars as Beck, a bounty hunter sent to the Amazon jungle to fetch Travis (Seann William Scott), the son of his wealthy boss. With a $250,000 bounty on his head, Travis is Beck's meal ticket to his dream of opening his own restaurant.

The simplistic screenplay isn't very original, but it's a lot of fun with the hilarious banter between Johnson and Scott and well-choreographed action scenes. Johnson has grown as an actor and, like Arnold before him, has a great sense of humor and is more than just a "hard body." I wonder if we'll see him run for governor someday?

The VC-1 encode looks identical to the HD DVD with slightly oversaturated colors—especially green—and flesh tones have an orange tint. Detail is very good in close-ups, but the jungle foliage lacks the superior resolution of reference-quality titles. On the plus side, the black levels are inky and solid, providing exquisite shadow detail. Even with its minor flaws, this is an above-average presentation.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is a slight improvement over the HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 track. Deep bass has a smidgen more impact and clarity, and the dialog is more lifelike and clear, although its level is still a bit weak. The surround channels are very active, particularly in the jungle, and provide an immersive 360-degree experience—when the action starts, prepare to be blasted from all sides.

The bonus features are ported over from the HD DVD and include a commentary with producers Kevin Misher and Marc Abraham, five featurettes, and nine deleted scenes—all in standard definition.

The Rundown is being released as a standalone title and part of The Rock Action 3-Pack that also includes The Scorpion King and Doom. The former is a good action film, but I'm not a fan of the latter because of its abhorrent violence. All three offer solid presentations, but The Rundown is the best film of the bunch.

Release Date: February 10, 2009
Studio: Universal

Movie: 7/10
Picture: 8/10
Sound: 9/10

Review System

Panasonic DMP-BD55

JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics