Sunday, August 09, 2009

Race to Witch Mountain

The other day I wrote about a movie with fictional wrestlers, and today it’s a movie with a real former wrestler. Dwayne Johnson isn’t billed as The Rock anymore, because he’s made a respectable career for himself as a movie star in both action movies and family comedies and dramas. His latest film, RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN, manages to merge a couple of those genres. It’s a family-friendly science fiction adventure yarn that’s a remake of a Disney movie from the Seventies.

I never saw the original, so I can’t compare this one with it. In the new version of RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN, Johnson plays Las Vegas cab driver Jack Bruno, a former wheelman for the mob who’s trying to go straight even though his old boss wants him to return to a life of crime. That ambition gets complicated when a couple of aliens on a mission from space wind up in the back of his cab. The aliens have taken on human guises, of course, and look like brother and sister teenagers. Jack winds up helping them on their quest to retrieve some important information, and along the way they’re pursued by sinister government operatives and a nearly unstoppable robot assassin from the alien’s planet. Action ensues. Stuff blows up real good. Lessons are learned.

Yes, RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN is predictable, but it’s also pretty darned entertaining. Johnson has turned into a good actor, and early on I sort of wished this had been a straight, hardboiled crime film about his cab driver character. I’d like to see him make a movie like that. But RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN is what it is, and despite the script’s tendency to take the easy way out by overplaying the “evil government, evil military” card, it races right along and is enough fun to be worth watching.


Dave Lewis said...

The Ex-Rock in hardboiled crime film? Good idea. Someone should tweet him about it.

Todd Mason said...

Of course, he's already been in an Elmore Leonard adaptation. ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN was based on a novel by Alexander Key, iirc...I liked the novel back when.