By Bret Dorman
There are two kind of action movies. Firstly, where the characters use violence to solve their issues because its fun to watch movies where people fight people. Secondly, where there’s a good story that just happens to have a scene or two where the characters are in a violent situation. Snitch doesn’t even make an effort to be the first one. It sticks pretty close to being a drama. Only the action scenes are boring, short, out of nowhere, involve craziness, or are lackluster all around. It’s a shame, because this movie has The Rock, who is capable of pretty much anything you need him to do.The Story: John Matthews (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a business dude who is divorced then remarried. His son who doesn’t like him gets caught with drugs and thrown in jail. So Matt goes to the US Attorney, Joanne Keeghan (Susan Surrandon) who let’s him create his own drug bust to catch some drug guys and set his son free. People shoot bullets at him but he isn’t an action guy so he just runs away. Also, Barry Pepper is a TOTAL badass in this movie.
I went into this movie wondering how they were going to transform the “true life story” where everyone is irresponsible into a full blown action flick. So to my surprise, about halfway in I realized I was watching a gritty drama where The Rock is in some financial business trouble and John Bernthal who plays one of his ex-con employees is trying to make things right. The movie tries to paint a picture where they only have one way out… fight crime by being crime! And why? Because that’s how the system treats criminals!Matthew’s son Jason is not a drug lord, but he does take a lot of drugs so he can maybe get laid. When he gets caught, he realizes his friend ratted him out, but he refuses to rat anyone else out… mostly because he doesn’t know anyone else! He’s not a drug dealer! The minimum sentencing laws require him to go to jail for basically ever and his mom/Matthew’s ex-wife is a total whiney baby about it. She points her fingers at everyone in an annoying attempt to make us feel sorry for Matt then later points her own fingers at herself in a desperate attempt to make us feel sorry for herself.
But Matthew uses his connections to see The US Attorney. There, they ridiculously bend the rules to bring in a major drug leader, then later they break them even more to bring down a drug lord. It’s like vigilantism only sanctioned by the government. Which makes Matt a cop, only he doesn’t need to respect any criminal rights. Fortunately he isn’t he killing type… but his employee-forced-to-be-helper is willing to kill people to get results. He may not want to, but he does it anyway.
The movie features a scene where Matthew applauds his son for doing the right thing and taking his time like a man, something he would never have the courage to do. But… Jason didn’t rat anyone out because he didn’t know anyone. So it’s not like he decided to do the “brave thing” and get beat up in prison to learn what being a man is all about, he is just a shitty drug user who got suckered into a bad deal because he was thinking with his penis. The very end of the movie features a flashcard that states something about drug laws being harsher than any other kind, in an attempt to shock the audience and make us think about what we’ve seen… which is a terribly written cliche dialogue filled drama featuring moments of guns. I don’t mind dumb movies, but I hate it when dumb movies take themselves too seriously. Here are the messages of the movie: Real men don’t rat their friends out and drug laws will turn innocent people into prison bitches. Seriously.The worst part is that despite all the terrible dialogue, The Rock is always entertaining. So even though I want to cringe, part of me is celebrating The Rock’s constant coolness. Most of the drug dealers are boring and most of the family drama is snooze-inducing. In fact, the only time I really found myself caring about anything the movie was doing was when Barry Pepper was on screen. He turns in a rhythmic and no bullshit performance worthy of a Michael Mann movie. I was really hoping that this movie would turn into an all out actioner so I could see him and The Rock kick some major ass, but instead the end of the movie has a chase scene where The Rock bashes his giant 18-wheeler into some cars. That’s about it.
In Conlcusion, Snitch promotes using vigilante violence, not snitching, and writing to your local Congress-person to get rid off all drug laws because come on guys, we’re just trying to have a little fun! If you like The Rock you’ll like The Rock in this movie and if you like Barry Pepper you’ll wish he was in a better one. They are the only saving graces of this otherwise awful excuse to make people contemplate real life troubles.
Final Grade: D-
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