Iconic roles is a look at some of the best performances in film and television by actors and actresses.
Dwayne Johnson is not the man to leave audiences indifferent, either when taking on live-action roles or voicing characters. At 50, Johnson is one of the highest-grossing stars in Hollywood, and it seems everything he touches turns to gold. Now the former WWE Superstar known as “The Rock” lends his electrifying voice to Krypto the Superdog in DC League of Super-Pets. Here are the best Dwayne Johnson action film performances to revisit before diving into the charismatic actor’s latest outing.
Johnson’s first Hollywood appearances were also a couple of hits The mummy Returns and The Scorpion King did well at the box office. After that, “The Rock” struggled to establish himself as a credible action hero for a few years. Surprisingly, the former WWE star gained quite a reputation after switching to comedy. The litmus test he didn’t fade in the genre was his performance with Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway in 2008’s Get smart. Directed by Peter Segal, the long film adaptation of the 60s series follows the misadventures of Maxwell Smart (Carell) in his attempt to become a field agent for the American spy agency Control. In the story, Johnson is Agent 23, Max’s idol and the best spy at Control, who seems to be hiding something behind his dazzling smile and pleasant demeanor.
It’s hard to argue with the claim that director Justin Lin’s work and Johnson’s charisma saved the day Fast and furious, rekindling fan interest in the franchise. In his first appearance as Luke Hobbs in the high-octane action franchise, Johnson portrayed a one-man army chasing down Dominic Toretto’s gang as they planned the biggest robbery attempt in Rio de Janeiro. The no quarter match between Johnson and Vin Diesel was reminiscent of the Steve Austin/The Rock rivalry from the Attitude era.
Fast five is one of five films in the franchise starring Johnson. Although it is not the most profitable Fast and furious movie, it surpassed even the most optimistic expectations at the time. While Johnson left the saga after apparently falling out with Diesel, fans are still hoping for a showdown between the Diplomatic Security Service agent and Toretto. The fact that Diesel seems to have buried the hatchet afterwards asking for Johnson’s return bodes well for the future.
Pain & Gain
In 2013, Johnson teamed up with The rock director Michael Bay in one of the rare comedies managed by Bay. The script concerns three bodybuilders who take by force what they cannot achieve with hard work. The former WWE star portrays Paul Doyle, an ex-convict with a cocaine addiction who converted to Christianity. Paul and his friends, Daniel (Mark Wahlberg) and Adrian (Anthony Mackie), pursue the American dream by any means necessary. Once again, Johnson showed excellent synergy with his co-stars and proved that he is unfairly overlooked as an actor.
Johnson’s performance in the 2014 adaptation of the graphic novel by Steve Moore was a statement at the time. In the story, Hercules uses the legendary tales surrounding his alleged divine origins to gain fame. Together with a band of mercenaries, he brings peace to Thrace, a country devastated by civil war and invasions.
Johnson took on a truly Herculean task in delivering an entertaining performance as the titular mythological hero. While dealing with a flawed script, the Californian actor perfectly embodied the not-so-son of Zeus. He explored Hercules’ physicality in a way never seen before in the sword-and-sandal genre. Johnson was arguably the only actor who could keep the audience constantly guessing about his character’s nature, either divine or simply human.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
A group of teenagers find themselves mysteriously trapped in a video game. After taking the physical shame of the adult avatars they chose, the game challenges the players to face dangerous adventures. As they make their way out of the game and back to their old lives, the four teenagers will learn to work together and overcome their insecurities in this coming-of-age story. Critics and general audiences alike liked the film, which received a sequel in 2019 Jumanji: The Next Level.
When it was first announced that the 1995s Jumanji wanted a direct sequel, fans didn’t know what to expect. The result was an entertaining comedy directed by Jake Kasdan. The cast also saw Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart and Jack Black all in fine form for the occasion. Ironically, the bulky actor jokes about his statuesque physique without ever being predictable and shines throughout his role, resulting in one of the best Dwayne Johnson action film performances. The characters may be a bit stereotypical, but they work very well together.