Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson will rock you in "San Andreas".
From People's Champion to movie superstar, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stands as a rare example of a wrestling star who has managed to make it big in the ring and in the box office. Gifted with a natural charisma and lovable personality, Dwayne Johnson may not be cut out to win a prestigious award like an Oscar, but his big persona and bigger heart has already won the hearts of those who come to see his movies. The star power that he cooks is nothing to sniff at, when he was named by Forbes as the top-grossing star of 2013. The movies to his name made over a billion in that year alone, laying the smackdwon on Robert Downey Jr., who played as Iron Man in "Iron Man 3" that year.
His testament as a star has been tested time and time again in the cinemas, and as evidenced by these movies on our list, we can see him doing the same again in "San Andreas" this 28 May 2015.
The Scorpion King
At the height of his wrestling fame, The Rock as he was famously known then, had his first breakout role as The Scorpion King in Stephen Sommers' "The Mummy Returns". The role, however, was a mainly CG-rendered one that had half of his body plastered onto a giant scorpion that only lasted briefly. That didn't end there though as it had inspired the spin-off "The Scorpion King" with a full bodied The Rock being bound to assassinate a conquering warlord, with the help of a mystic sorceress. "The Scorpion King" was The Rock's first leading role and at the time was recorded to be one of the highest paid role (US$5.5 million) that was given to a new actor. It doesn't matter what anyone had to say about it though, as "The Scorpion King" proved that The Rock had the onscreen presence to be a box office draw and it still remains as one of the top 10 movies starring The Rock with the highest gross, and we can't say the same for his recent outing as "Hercules".
The Game Plan
Every fresh action star in Hollywood doesn't always stay within the genre that they were meant to be, and would eventually have branched out at a certain point of their career to see if they can find a new niche. It has happened to the best of them from Schwarzenegger ("Jingle All the Way") to Vin Diesel ("The Pacifier"), and The Rock was no exception. From underdog sports drama "Gridiron Gang" to outright child-pleaser "Tooth Fairy", arguably the most successful one that mixed both together was Andy Fickman's "The Game Plan". As a high-flying star of his football team, his life gets turned upside down when an unexpected daughter shows up on his door and he has to tackle the new challenges of fatherhood (and ballet) while staying focus to lead his team to win their first championship.
Having The Rock show a friendlier side did manage to pay off (to almost a US$100 million of box office gross) and while we won't be holding our breaths to see The Rock jumping into another fluffy bubble bath any time soon, it is another sign that he has passed the test of being a likable star with just having to break only a bone or two in the process.
Now let's talk action and with that we mean the gritty and gun-toting roles that every action star aspires to be. Dwayne Johnson has lead in his fair share of pure actioners from seeking pure revenge ("Faster"), cleaning up his neighbourhood of crime ("Walking Tall") and blasting rebels away for his last bounty ("The Rundown"), but these were mostly plain action roles that mostly needed him to look good with a gun. For the real character work, we would look at "Snitch", where he plays as a construction company owner who agrees to act as an informant on a dangerous drug cartel, in order to have his son released from prison who was framed and arrested for drug dealing. Given a motivation to his character allowed Johnson to add a little depth to his character and while it was not the most money-making venture he had done before then, it was noted for Johnson taking another step up to being an actor.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
One of the strangest results that came out of his collaboration with director Andy Fickman in "The Game Plan" is that he would actually explore his potential as a star for children with "Race to Witch Mountain". While we only have the famous Dwayne Johnson meme to thank for in that adventure road trip, it didn't stop him from taking it further when he agreed to be in another adventure for Brad Peyton's "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island".
Starring as the step-father to relative unknown Josh Hutcherson (before he became Peeta) who agrees to accompany him on his trip to find the Mysterious Island. The effects and 3D heavy adventure actually did pretty well for a movie that sends Johnson running from giant lizards, hungry birds and erupting volcanoes (and expect him to do much of the same in Peyton's next "San Andreas). It was either that or nobody could get enough of Johnson doing the Pec Pop of Love.
Fast and Furious 5
If there was a sure-fire way to become an established star nowadays, it would easily be becoming a major character in a successful franchise. While Johnson had been in several, those franchises would eventually be hit by a Rockbottom with muted sequels ("The Scorpion King") or just be taken out completely ("G.I. Joe"). With a track record like that, it was not surprising that Johnson was concerned if he would eventually find a property for him to flex his muscles.
Then, while he was thinking of casting for "Fast and Furious 5", Vin Diesel stumbled upon a request on his Facebook page that wanted to see Diesel and Dwayne Johnson in a fight. What was originally a role written for Tommy Lee Jones, was eventually switched to fit for Dwayne Johnson and if anyone who had seen that fight in "Fast and Furious 5", it was a decision that nobody regretted. Since then, Johnson's Agent Luke Hobbs of the Diplomatic Security Service has been part of the "Fast and Furious" family, as though he has always been, and his appearance certainly did contribute to the ever increasing gross every sequel has made since then.
Cinema Online, 27 May 2015