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Film / The Rundown

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Beck (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is a Bounty Hunter who wants to quit the business and open a restaurant, but his boss Billy sends him on one last assignment: Go down to the Amazon and bring his wayward son Travis (Seann William Scott) back to Los Angeles. So Beck heads down to the Amazon, where he meets eccentric Scottish airplane pilot Declan (Ewen Bremner) and finds a totalitarian regime run by Hatcher (Christopher Walken), who double-crosses Beck shortly after he finds Travis.

Beck and Travis flee to the jungle where, after some obstacles (including a run-in with wild baboons), they join up with a rebellion led by Mariana (Rosario Dawson), an acquaintance of Travis', and go on a search for an Ancient Artifact Travis has been searching for.

Provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Billy. It's the reason why Beck takes Travis with him at the end.
  • Adventure Towns: El Dorado, or as it's named in one of the first-draft scripts and spray-painted on the limits sign "HELL Dorado", is a mining town in the middle of the Amazon Jungle that is utterly inhumane and led with an iron fist by Hatcher.
  • Animal Stampede: In the climax, Beck engineers a stampede of bulls through the town to distract Hatcher's men from his entry.
  • Artistic License – Botany: The fruit that paralyze Beck and Travis is known as Fruta do Conde (Count's Fruit in Portuguese), but its just a normal edible fruit and doesnt cause paralysis.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: When Beck picks up dual shotguns to save Travis, the rock soundtrack re-appears.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The (alleged) Brazilian Portuguese spoken in the film.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: With a friggin' sniper rifle. No Scope. ONE HANDED. It's no wonder Hatcher says "Whoa!"
  • Bounty Hunter: Beck is a "retrieval expert".
  • Bullying a Dragon: Beck is on the receiving end of this from virtually the entire cast despite being a big, hulking guy who does not look like the type of person you should antagonize. It tends to end as well as you'd expect.
  • The Cameo: Arnold Schwarzenegger appears for about four seconds to tell Dwayne Johnson's character to "have fun".
  • The Capital of Brazil Is Buenos Aires: The producers do their best, as the city does look like something you'd find in the Amazon (even the bar decorations). But Brazilians can't help but laugh at the atrocious Portuguese and baboons.
  • Chef of Iron: Beck's reason to take the job to go get Travis is because it's his One Last Job he needs in order to be let go by Billy and given enough money to fund his own restaurant. He's an awesomely impressive Bounty Hunter.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The bulls and the konlabos fruit.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Beck has no problem using anything he can get his hands on to hurt his opponent, only being reluctant to use guns.
  • Company Town: The remote Brazilian mining town. Hatcher pays his workers a paltry 65 cents an hour, meaning that they have to borrow from him just to do their jobs and have a place to live. Mariana and her rebels oppose this arrangement, calling it nothing less than escravidão — slavery.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Travis. Against Beck, the "Thunder and Lightning" set-up for a kick is completely useless, but against one of Hatcher's goons he's able to use it to deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle, and later saves Beck's life by taking out a sniper. In a deleted scene, he also kills Hatcher's right-hand man and brother in a fight over the Gato. He's also a pretty competent Adventurer Archaeologist as long as he's not fighting people on Beck's level.
  • Curbstomp Battle: The opening fight in the club. A few puffed-up athletes might look intimidating, but Beck is an experienced leg-breaker who regularly deals with people too dumb to go with option A.
  • Dance Battler: Thanks to Travis's language trolling, Beck is forced to fight multiple Capoeira fighters in the guerrilla camp. Travis amusingly calls it "spinning Tarzan jiu-jitsu".
  • Didn't Think This Through: One of the football players doesn't pause to think about how fighting while wearing a heavy, golden chain around his neck was a very bad idea.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Beck has it tattooed on one of his forearms.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Beck, until the climax. He makes it a point not to carry one, which makes enough sense as he's a bounty hunter, not a hired gun. It hints of his Dark and Troubled Past.
  • The Dying Walk: Hatcher is shot in the middle of his Villainous Breakdown, and somewhat belatedly decides that he's going to take the option Beck gave him of walking away. All he does is walk a little way down the street of his town before he collapses and dies.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: Option A/Option B. Option A is that you shut up and do what Beck says. Option B is that he makes you. You really don't want Option B. Despite this, no one in the movie ever chooses Option A, and the implication is that no one ever does (which is actually somewhat logical— Beck isn't a well-known badass in this world, so if some random guy confronts a cocky bastard about overdue debts and such, there's a good chance Beck won't be taken seriously... until he cleans house with whatever protection the target has enlisted.)
  • Embarrassing First Name / Embarrassing Middle Name: "Cornelius Bernard Hatcher, your time has come!"
  • Establishing Character Moment: Beck's first fight in the club. He does his best not to pick a fight with the football players ("The entire offensive line is here!") but not out of fear ("They have a legitimate shot of repeating this year, I do not want to hurt them!"), but when they go with Option B, Beck proceeds to mop the floor with a group of trained athletes.
  • Fanservice: Rosario Dawson. Even more so here as she's in jungle wear for much of the film.
  • Faux Action Girl: Mariana. Made worse that her big action scene where Hatcher's goons track her down, but she puts up a fight, machine gun blazing was deleted from the final cut of the film.
  • Firing One-Handed: Beck pulls this one up to eleven at the climax, with both pump-action Remington shotguns and an M-14 battle rifle.
  • Groin Attack: Way too many to count, but for the sake of providing an example, Travis finally manages to use the "Thunder and Lightning" trick at the climax to deliver a groin kick to a goon.
  • Guns Akimbo: Beck at the climax, with pump-action shotguns no less. He avoids the issue of having a manually reloaded weapon in each hand by using the environment, and even his own body, to rack the slides.
  • Heroes Fight Barehanded: The main character refuses to use guns, and to beat the shit out of everyone around him, even when it would easier to bust caps in asses... well, until the end. He claims "When I pick up guns, bad things happen."
  • I Lied: When Hatcher and Beck meet for the first time, Beck amicably pays Hatcher's fee to release Travis. When Beck goes to take Travis into his custody, Hatcher and his goons show up to tell Beck that Travis is to stay until he finds the Gato artifact.
    Hatcher: The kid stays.
    Beck: I paid you.
    Hatcher: Well, fortunately, I had my fingers crossed the whole time.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The guards who use whips, being able to restrain and maim with them rather accurately. Can be truth in television as whips in trained hands are accurate, dangerous weapons with excellent range and capacity for wicked injury. More info at the other wiki. Also a fairly logical weapon choice considering their primary role is keeping the workers in line - a non-lethal but painful weapon just makes sense. Perhaps most impressive is Hatcher's Dragon, who uses two.
  • It's Personal: Beck does NOT take it well when Hatcher's goons kill Manito and the other rebels in their hunt for him and Travis. He is far more motivated to destroy Hatcher's operation after the death of Manito and after they abduct Mariana.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: When Travis and Beck first meet in the bar at which Mariana works. Travis is casually drinking a beer, and Beck takes a seat next to him, in a completely non-threatening manner:
    Beck: I need you to make a choice for me. Option A or Option B.
    Travis: What's Option A?
    Beck: Well, Option A is you and I walk out of here nice and easy, get in my jeep and we drive back to the airstrip. Then we begin our long journey back to Los Angeles. There'll be no blood, no broken bones... and no problems.
    Travis: What's in Los Angeles?
    Beck: Your father. [looks of shock from both Travis and Mariana]
    Travis: ... what's Option B?
    Beck: Pretty much the opposite of A... but I wouldn't recommend that one.
    Beck: Travis... there IS no Option C.
    Travis: Really?
    Beck: Mmm-hmm.
    Travis: Are ya sure...? [camera cuts to Mariana looking tense] I mean, big boy... there's always an Option C... [calmly takes a drink, before abruptly swinging the bottle at Beck. Beck blocks it and handcuffs Travis after kicking his ass.]
    Beck: Like I said... there is no Option C. [Cornelius Hatcher enters the bar, along with two goons, assumed to be Hatcher's own bodyguards]
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Travis. He's a jerkass and rude to... most people throughout the movie, but his heart is in the right place and he even gives the treasure to Mariana.
  • Kick the Dog: Hatcher really loves delivering these. His Establishing Character Moment is ordering his goons to whip some poor miner that refused to hand over his gold when he was short-changed on his payment for mining it (and it's flat-out stated that Hatcher's company store prices vs. what he pays for the gold means he's got everybody in town under indentured slavery).
  • Kill the Cutie: After a brief misunderstanding resulting in a pretty awesome fight, Beck and Manito bury the hatchet and become allies. Manito even gives Beck a necklace in honor of his fighting skills. Not long afterward, Hatcher's goons attack and kill many of the rebels, including poor Manito. Beck takes it personally and is not only determined to bring Travis home, but take Hatcher down and help the rebels in the process.
  • Lampshade Hanging: After Beck tells Travis about Option A or Option B, Travis suggests an Option C. Beck's response: "There is no option C."
  • La Résistance: Mariana leads a group of rebels who oppose Hatcher because he is ruthlessly exploiting their people, arranging things so that their paltry working wage doesn't even begin to cover the cost of working and living, meaning that they have to borrow from Hatcher, getting so deep into debt with him that there is no hope of getting out of it — an arrangement that Mariana calls nothing less than escravidão: slavery.
  • Large Ham:
    • Hatcher, all the way. It's worth watching the entire film to see his enraged monologue to his Brazilian henchmen which inexplicably centers on the tooth fairy (real life foreshadowing?). The realization that his henchmen are unfamiliar with the concept of the tooth fairy only further infuriates him.
    • All the scenery Hatcher didn't chew up? Declan will be more than happy to take care of that. The sequence where he is quoting Dylan Thomas while Beck is realizing he's going to have to use guns is especially egregious.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: In full effect, especially in the film's climax. Interestingly enough, the counterpart trope associated with receiving bullets with bizarre physical properties, Blown Across the Room, is mostly averted. Kicked Across The Room, on the other hand...
  • Lightning Bruiser: Beck. Strong enough to crumble a concrete pillar with his shoulder, fast enough to catch an incoming whip with his bare hand (a whip attack strong enough that a follow-up shot breaks a table clean in two).
  • Made of Iron: Travis. No, really. Stop laughing. Watch how many times he gets hit, flung, or exploded. And he just walks it off. Even Beck notices it when he punches Travis after the waterfall. He actually looks down at his hand in surprise, shaking it in pain. Which he didn't do after smacking around nearly everyone else in the entire movie.
  • Meet My Good Friends Lefty and Righty: Travis calls his legs "Thunder and Lightning". A Running Gag is that he tries to set up an attack by doing a crazy dance and talking about them as he gets closer and then Beck just smacks him silly before he can truly attack. Someone (one of Hatcher's goons) finally falls for it at the climax.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The baboons that attack the protagonists are African baboons rather than anything native to South America.
  • More Dakka: Holy crap, Hatcher's goons go trigger-happy at the climax.
  • Motormouth: Travis. Beck gets quite annoyed on several occasions by the fact that he just won't shut up.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: The Amazon is mostly flat, but there are mountains in the background...
  • Non-Action Guy: Declan. His role in the final battle is basically walk out there and confuse while Beck does all the fighting.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Pretty much everything with the Brazilian Portuguese spoken is wrong, either due to it being overly formal for the context, or due to most of the actors literally not even trying to mimick an Amazonas, let alone Brazilian, accent. Brazilian reactions to this are either amusement or finding it somewhat offensive or silly.
  • Not So Stoic: Beck is the very definition of a stone-cold professional and Nerves of Steel, and yet when he sees that Declan's plane is literally held together by duct tape (the wings specifically), Beck looks about ready to shit himself. It's the only time in the entire film where he is genuinely terrified.
  • No-Sell: Travis's multiple attempts to cheap-shot Beck result in this.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Surprisingly, Mariana is not a love interest for Beck or for Travis. She remains steadfast in finding the Gato to free her people from Hatcher's control, though it is clear she grows to like and respect Beck over the course of the ordeal, and it's implied she is at least friendly with Travis.
  • Oh, Crap!: More than just a specific moment, Beck's one weakness is being taken by surprise. Of course, once he knows what to expect, he usually flips it around very quickly.
  • Orifice Invasion: The candiru are said to be able to do this, something which may or may not be Truth in Television depending on who you ask.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Manito, the guerrilheiro who first faces Beck in the camp, who gives Beck a beating with Capoeira despite being half of his size.
  • Rebel Leader: Mariana is the local bartender, but in reality is the leader of the anti-Hatcher rebels hiding in the jungle. Unfortunately they are all killed by Hatcher, meaning that she's the only official "rebel" at the climax.
  • Rousing Speech: Done by Declan. It even includes Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night."
  • Rule of Funny: Theoretically, during the scene in which Travis convinces Beck to stop and let Travis relieve himself, Beck could have handcuffed Travis and himself together, allowing Travis one free hand to handle his business, while simultaneously preventing escape. Either that, or Travis could have just sat down and pulled his cuffed arms to the front so he could unzip himself and pee. But it was funnier to make Beck to it.
  • Scenery Dissonance: Type 1. The movie mostly takes place in beautiful South American jungles, contrasted with a brutally oppressed town and a lot of fast-paced gun violence... and some horny monkeys.
  • Scotireland: In spite of wearing a kilt and playing bagpipes near the film's finale, Declan also speaks with a terrible Irish accent, keeps a leprechaun bobblehead on the dashboard of his plane, and also has a shamrock on said plane's tail. It is most likely that the character is meant to be from Northern Ireland, where Scottish piping traditions (as well as accent features) have to some extent migrated, and the unintelligible accent is poking fun at the fact that nobody else can understand "Norn Iron." The actor, for the record, is Scottish.
  • Self-Destructing Security: The "vault" that had secured the "Gato" for all of these centuries is a cave that is very barely on the edge of collapsing except for the very rotten logs holding up the ceiling. Travis explains the whole idea behind it is that in order to remove the statue you must remove a certain set of logs to have a clear path and then race to get it and get out before the whole thing buries you.
  • Shout-Out: When Travis challenges Beck at the end: "I'm gonna bust you up." "Go for it."
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Beck uses two. That even have "Do Not Go Gentle" in the handle.
  • Signs of Disrepair: Someone spray-painted on the "El Dorado" town limits sign so it reads "HELL Dorado".
  • Stat-O-Vision: Called 'Beck Vision' in the commentary. Beck has a really good eye for detail, and sharp vision, taking in a multitude of details, both visual and audible. We see this as rapid zoom-ins, jump-cuts and one to two seconds of the detail in question up close, before jumping to the next, and the next, and the next. It's done very well, too.
  • Strong and Skilled: Beck. He's built like a brick house (being played by Dwayne Johnson, naturally) but he's also an extremely talented martial artist.
  • Suddenly Shouting: After the heroes escape an ambush by river:
    Hatcher: I want hunting parties. Small ones. Find them. [beat] FIND THEM!
  • Take a Third Option: Subverted. There is no third option with Beck.
  • Technical Pacifist: Beck. Because of a Dark and Troubled Past, he absolutely refuses to use a gun... until the climax. And then it turns out that he's an even more unstoppable One-Man Army once he starts shooting.
  • Temple of Doom: The Cave Behind the Falls in which the Gato is hidden is a gigantic death-trap of rotting logs holding up a very unstable rooftop, threatening a cave-in any second.
  • Title Drop: With the original ("Your kid was a tough rundown, Billy"), working (sign reading "El Dorado" vandalized to read "Helldorado"), and alternate titles ("Welcome to the Jungle, tough guy")!
  • Tranquil Fury: When Knappmiller tosses his drink in Beck's face and tells him to get lost, Beck goes into the bathroom, cleans up, takes a second, and looks himself in the mirror with a glare that is all business. He walks out and kicks the crap out of an entire offensive line and forcibly retrieves collateral from Knappmiller.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Everyone to Beck. Seriously, should have gone with Option A.
  • Unflinching Walk: There's a big explosion halfway through the climax. Beck might as well have been on a leisurely stroll through the park when it happened.
  • The Unintelligible: Declan. It's even lampshaded when Beck is flying in.
    Beck: Booze on the grind? What? note 
  • Unorthodox Reload: And how! Flipping akimbo shotguns upside-down by the trigger guard and racking the action held between arm and ribcage. Holding both shotguns in one hand, pumping both slides at the same time with the other. You will never see a shotgun used like this anywhere else, nor look at them the same ever again after this movie.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: The football players in in the club, in a way that works to their disadvantage. They're all built like tanks but it means little against a highly trained and physically powerful fighter like Beck, who wipes the floor with them.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Hatcher fully believes he's making a better place for the natives.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Manito. Beck towers over him and is physically much stronger but Manito's martial arts moves keep Beck on the defensive for most of the fight until Beck gets serious. Granted, Beck was also heavily outnumbered.
  • Whip of Dominance: Hatcher's three toughest goons, including The Dragon all use whips as their weapons. Given they're effectively slavers, it's not only effective symbolism but also a practical choice.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Lampshaded. When Beck first storms the town and starts taking out mooks, The Dragon watching via camera feed says, "Why doesn't somebody just shoot him?" Three Elite Mooks later go after him with whips, all of whom are killed by the guns they have holstered on their waists.
  • Worthy Opponent: Hatcher is definitely impressed by Beck's skill. When Beck wipes out his room of goons and still keeps Travis incapacitated, all while bare-handed, Hatcher emits a "wow". Later, when Beck no-scopes a gun clean out of Hatcher's hand, Hatcher praises him:
    Hatcher: You got the moves! I'll give you that!
  • Wrestler in All of Us: During the bar brawl to retrieve Knappmiller's ring, Beck hits one of the bouncers with his actor's own Rock Bottom. In the El Dorardo bar fight, he incapacitates Hatcher's brother and two goons with a dropkick. And then during the final battle, he brings down a guard post with a diving clothesline to the support beam.