Dwayne Johnson races down dark and dirty alleyways as an ex-con hunting down the men who double-crossed him during a major heist and killed his brother. In addition, he struggles to stay one step ahead of an aging detective (Billy Bob Thornton) with a few of his own dark secrets and a hit man (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) with deep emotional and psychological issues hot on his trail.
A tough turn like this could chart a new course for Johnson, marking a huge step forward in his transition from entertainer to actor, but audiences might have trouble buying his cold playacting.
Johnson, despite his start as a professional wrestler, can’t overcome his upbeat charm, which has allowed him to coast through junk like The Tooth Fairy. He exudes a fun, likable vibe (thanks to a smile that’s like sunshine) that works against him in roles like this, where audiences would be better served by a hard-nosed presence like Jason Statham.
Director George Tillman Jr. (Notorious) channels his inner Tony Scott here, but the script lacks a surprising or thrilling punch, and Tillman refuses to race fast and furiously into the darkest and most dangerous corners that would have at least made for some real B-movie glory. Grade: D