The Rundown

6 out of 10


Pretty Good Film

The film opens in an exclusive club, shortly before the beginning of a brawl in which Beck takes on the entire offensive line of a pro-football team. And wins. Beck is a retrieval expert, among other things. When his boss, Billy Walker, needs his prodigal son Travis brought home to face the music for sleeping with the wrong man's wife, Beck takes the job. He catches up with Travis in a gold-town in the Amazon rain-forest called Eldorado, which belongs to a truly ruthless man named Hatcher. At first, Hatcher has no problem with allowing Beck to take Travis home, until he realizes that Travis has found the location of a priceless artifact- El Gato Diablo, or the Devil's Cat- in the jungle Hatcher claims as his own. According to local legend, returning the Gato to its rightful owners will cause the rivers to be rich with fish and the trees to grow tall to shade the people's weary backs. The local rebels don't actually believe this, but they do believe that the money they can get selling the Gato on the black-market will be enough to buy seeds and tools to farm, which will allow them, and their people, to get away from Hatcher's mine, where they are little more than slaves. To this end, they have been watching Travis, and have put themselves in a position to take a substantial cut if and when he does find the artifact.

This was a better film than I expected, with some real laugh-out-loud-funny scenes, including one involving, the strange hallucinogenic and paralytic properties of a certain rare local fruit. On the other hand, it also had some aspects I didn't like. The ancient "safe" in which the Gato is concealed seems both improbable to start with, and unlikely to have lasted that long- it seems more likely that it would have collapsed on its own long ago without human help. There are also several scenes, such as one in which Beck and Travis fall down a cliff in jeep, which seem like they aught to at least break bones, if not kill them outright. Other than that, and a few mildly nauseating moments when the camera pans a little too quickly, it's a pretty good film. The plot even makes a fair bit of sense, which is more than I can say for the majority of action films these days.

Better film than I expected

Film Critic: Bronwynn Erskine