It’s hard to think of anybody that’s had more of an impressive career twist than former WWE superstar The Rock, aka Dwayne Johnson. He started out with dreams of playing pro football before suffering an injury that caused him to consider a different path within the field of sports.
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He turned things around by following in his father’s footsteps to become a pro wrestler best known for signature catchphrases and eyebrow lifts, which he parlayed into superstardom. He then turned his status into a career in Hollywood, where he is now one of the world’s most bankable actors.
10) Jungle Cruise (2021)
Disney has an impressive knack for turning their theme park rides into films, and capitalizing on brand recognition. Since the rides themselves have very little in the way of backstory, it’s up to writers to fill in the blanks, as they did with 2021’s Jungle Cruise.
The film is best described as a slightly watered down version Pirates of the Caribbean, in a jungle. It features a few good jokes, a mix of CGI and practical action, as well as a fairly stock story. It might not be the greatest thing they put out, but Johnson and Emily Blunt make the best of their slightly off-kilter chemistry.
9) Red Notice (2021)
While some actors took their stardom to lean into more dramatic roles, Dwayne Johnson wisely keeps his sights on action flicks with lighter stories. This is exactly where Red Notice shines, as it’s premise is far too ridiculous to be taken seriously.
The movie stars Johnson as a cop who recruits a thief, played by Ryan Reynolds, to capture another thief, played by Gal Gadot. It’s certainly not high cinema, but it has each actor playing to their strengths in order to create a worthy action comedy.
8) DC League Of Super-Pets (2022)
Fans can tell just how much actors get involved in an animation project by how they market it. DC League of Super-Pets shouldn’t have been a big draw, but Dwayne Johnson’s non-stop campaigning for the movie brought it some attention.
The film features Superman’s dog teaming up with other superpowered animals to take on some furry villains. It’s a ridiculously fun-filled movie that is perfect for a family outing. If only DC could put out more projects like this, rather than running scattershot throughout their own film universe.
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7) Black Adam (2022)
As dedicated as Dwayne Johnson was to DC League of Super-Pets, he was even more so with Black Adam. He had been campaigning to play the anti-hero for over a decade, and it was a joy to see him finally get to embody the role.
Regardless of the film’s story and massive CGI scenes, Dwayne Johnson successfully made himself synonymous with the character. It’s very difficult for actors to seamlessly blend their off-screen persona with a superhero. Dwayne Johnson did it to perfection.
6) Furious 7 (2015)
As the Fast & The Furious films soldiered on year over year, so too did their scripts become more and more outlandish and ridiculous. That’s all part of the fun, especially with Furious 7, widely regarded as the one of the best installments in the entire franchise.
It also marked the return of Johnson as DSS agent Luke Hobbs, who got to participate in this monumentally expensive and iconic film. It is best known as the sequel that presented a touching tribute to the late Paul Walker, who died in a car crash in 2013, but it also set up Johnson’s spinoff film Hobbs & Shaw, co-starring Jason Statham.
5) The Rundown (2003)
Dwayne Johnson was still trying to get his bearings as an action star when he filmed The Rundown alongside Sean William Scott. The two of them combined played up the perfect combination of action comedy that made this a surprisingly fun film.
It’s a fairly typical third world action-oriented adventure film, but the actors involved did such a good job that it was prescient of what was in store for the ex-wrestler. Johnson would soon parlay this into his next few roles, which solidified his action hero status.
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4) Rampage (2018)
By definition, video games are notoriously tough to adapt to the silver screen. Pac-Man and Tetris certainly come to mind, but Rampage had his own problems, since it was little more than an arcade title featuring monsters wreaking havoc across multiple cities.
Somehow, they threw Dwayne Johnson into a movie, while adapting the game’s flimsy source material to give it something of an engaging storyline. It’s completely ridiculous and absurd, but sometimes audiences just have to abandon expectations at the door, and enjoy the ride.
3) Moana (2016)
It’s hard to think of an animated character in recent memory that embodies a voice more than Dwayne Johnson’s Maui. He’s such a bombastic and larger than light figure that the two of them went perfectly together.
It also helps them Moana is not a typical Disney princess story. It features a new setting and a fairly atypical journey that results in Moana being her own champion. Dwayne Johnson’s character might not have been the star, but he’s about as good as a supporting character as there can be.
2) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
Whenever a classic childhood film is being rebooted, fans hold their breath as it usually means nostalgia is about to be abused. Somehow, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle managed to be an exception, as it was a very fun and light-hearted film that honored the original, without ripping it off.
The entire cast from Dwayne Johnson to Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black were masterful in creating a hilarious ensemble adventure. It also honored video game culture in a way only gamers could appreciate. And of course, the CGI was light years beyond that of the Robin Williams 1995 original.
1) The Scorpion King (2022)
The Rock’s appearance in The Mummy Returns helped set the table for his own spinoff film, detailing the warrior’s origins. The result was a trashy, yet highly entertaining fantasy action film that somehow managed to be so bad that it was actually good…in a way.
The Scorpion King was a surprisingly fun action film that showed Dwayne Johnson could be a leading man. It’s safe to say that without this film, The Rock’s career as an action movie star may have fizzled out before he had a chance to plant his boots and move onto bigger and better projects.