Reanimating existing intellectual property seems to be Hollywood’s main play in recent years. And no person is better suited for these times than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He can save all the franchises. He will save the classics and the untouchables and the sequels. All of them. That’s just what great men do. And it explains The Rock’s addition to the Fast and Furious franchise, G.I. Joe, Baywatch, and now Jumanji. No brainers, all of them. The world isn’t full of Rocks (don’t laugh), and if anyone approaches you to add The Rock, you just do it.
Currently The Rock is set to star in 20 upcoming films. But why stop there? Life is short and Hollywood clearly needs as much Franchise Viagra as possible. We’re here to help. Below, we present eight franchises The Rock should consider save. But the truth is, it could’ve been any eight movies. We encourage you to write your own thinkpiece with your own eight movies. These are just the ones we chose.
But they just remade that film, you say? True. Another question: If a movie flops domestically but is saved by international markets, do you really care? That’s right, you don’t. Last year’s Point Break underscored China’s new influence on Hollywood—the movie had its world premiere in China three weeks before its domestic release, practically unheard of for a studio film—which wouldn’t matter if the movie wasn’t the film equivalent of biting into a still-frozen Hot Pocket. You’re sad to find yourself there in the first place, choosing to eat a Hot Pocket, but then it chips your tooth and you carry that shame with you for the rest of your life. Exactly the way American moviegoers felt walking out of the Point Break remake (I know, I administered like 12 Gallup polls).
Why the rant? Because it didn’t have to be this way! The majesty of Point Break lies in the bromance between Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Johnny Utah jumps out of planes, gets in fights, travels across the world because he can’t resist the allure of Bodhi. Who could inspire such devotion due to overwhelming aura? The Rock. The stunts would make sense and so would the charm. He can switch between campy and tough guy, essential to playing the character. No matter what, it’d be fun, something sorely lacking in the *dark* remake.
Some would like to forget The Rock once starred in a movie called Tooth Fairy as an actual Tooth Fairy. These are the kind of people who “have lives.” Losers. I’ll admit trying to pick your favorite Rock quality is like choosing your favorite child: it’s easy, but it doesn’t mean you love the rest any less. The Rock possesses zero shame or insecurity in his body (possibly related: he also doesn’t have any fat on his body; something to look into).
Neither did Robin Williams in his roles. To use industry parlance, “went for it.” There isn’t a role The Rock doesn’t commit less than 100 percent to and that’s the beauty of every Rock movie: he so believes every movie he makes will be good, if not great. They aren’t, but that’s irrelevant. He tries. A man disguised as a housekeeper to spend more time with his kids needs to really, really care and really, really try. The Rock does both all the time. The muscles might be tough to explain, but the love exhibited would not.
Wild, Wild West
You know what The Rock has somehow never starred in? A western. You know what The Rock would—okay, I really want to see Dwayne Johnson in a western. A remake itself, Wild, Wild West stops working precisely the moment you realize Will Smith is too big a star for the movie. Crazy thing: this happens immediately.
Don’t confuse it: The Rock is a star, he’s a leading man. But his persona never overwhelms a narrative; he never needs to “do a cool thing” like Will Smith. He can be in on a joke without needing to be the one making it. What I’m saying is simple: If you don’t wish to see The Rock in a cowboy hat destroying steampunk machine-monsters while saying cheesy one-liners, I don’t know what world you wish to inhabit.
This is so obvious I’m high-key ashamed it wasn’t made five years ago. “Hello, Hollywood? Brendan here. Do you like making money? Because I’m literally printing it for you with these ideas.”
How would you describe The Rock to a friend who’s never heard of him? (Also, maybe choose better friends.) How about this: “Born with the strength of a black tiger, the courage of an eagle, the power that made him more than any hero, more than any lover. He was lord and master over all beasts.” Who am I describing: The Rock or the Beastmaster? Trick question. Answer’s both and why hasn’t this movie been made?
I love you, Bruce Willis, but this list only has room for one bald-headed muscle dude and that’s my man, Franchise Viagra. The Die Hard franchise ceased working when Bruce Willis began believing too heartily in the “Bruce Willis” brand (the obvious tentpole hovering around Cop Out and hating Kevin Smith). As high-stakes and mythic the Die Hard franchise can be, it delighted and captivated audiences because Bruce Willis (I swear to God) was funny. He had jokes, self-deprecating ones, too.
No one currently acting mixes the tongue-in-cheek with I’ll-kick-your-ass-whenever-I-want look like The Rock. My goodness, in Furious 7 he uttered “Daddy’s gotta go to work” and flexed his bicep so hard he broke the cast he was wearing. That was a real thing that happened. It’s akin to John McClane screaming “Yippee Ki Yay!” It’s fun and funny and somehow believable to that character, something the world needs more of.
Yes, they rebooted the Rush Hour franchise on TV. (At least that’s what I’m told. Raise your hand if you know 10 people who’ve seen one episode.) And yes, its tension and humor derives from a fish-out-of-water Jackie Chan paired with Chris Tucker. Now, who’s the Chris Tucker of 2016? (Letting you think…letting you think…letting you think.) It’s Kevin Hart! The Rock and Kevin Hart just work together. But kinda like crunchy peanut butter and jelly. Anyway, is it lunch time yet?
Escape from New York
This one also lines up behind the scenes. If you hadn’t heard, The Rock was just cast to star in the remake of John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. Word is they’d like to reboot the Escape series, also directed by Carpenter, but no cast has been set as of now.
Then again, who knows what “behind the scenes” means in today’s wacko media world? (The answer: James Franco, probs.) Insert The Rock into any role and let him cook; he might actually serve the film better if The Rock didn’t star in the Snake Plissken role (although that character’s name sounds like it was crafted in a Dwayne Johnson character name generator). I’d settle for Slag, the Hulk character Snake must defeat to escape and continue on to save the President. (Considering.) Nope, that’s the perfect role for The Rock. Buy him a couple tubs of baby oil and a perspiration spray bottle ala Fast Five, and everyone will love this movie, I promise.
Whoa whoa whoa. Put down the keyboard please. I know how upset you think you are. Gremlins is radioactive untouchable in some eyes (apparently) but hear me out. The true tension of gremlins as creatures centers on how something so tiny and adorable could turn so scary and violent. They’re still (mostly) small when they become evil, but their multiplying numbers provides the real fear. An army of Ferbies disturbs me more than, say, a DC Comics villain like Darkseid or Doomsday. I’ll fight the one world-destroying big dude any day than those creepy buggers.
This is all to say no mental image delights my brain nodes more than The Rock punching and swinging jackhammers at gremlins. Another situation where he’s better utilized in a minor character role than the main guy; his golden aura might be too much for a campy movie like this. Just one football kick, that’s all I’m asking. Like Jack Black punting Baxter over the bridge in Anchorman, The Rock swinging those steel pistons he calls legs at gremlins is my fantasy. Tell me you don’t dream of that at night. Tell me The Rock couldn’t save every franchise on this list and so many more. You can’t. He is a Norse God sent to entertain us and we should preserve him for all of eternity. Oh, wait, that just gave me the greatest idea yet—carbonite frozen Rock!