When it comes to pro-wrestlers, Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, needs no introduction. Beginning his career in the WWE in the late 90’s, The Rock captivated fans around the world with a unique combination of unbridled physical power and sheer, unadulterated charisma, able to inspire cheers with something as seemingly innocuous as a raised eyebrow.
Like many pro-wrestlers, The Rock would later take his talents to the big screen, and would emerge as one of the biggest action stars on the planet. In everything from “The Rundown” to “The Scorpion King” to the “Fast and Furious” franchise, he’s never failed to bring his talent for Rock-bottoming opponents and audiences alike to everything he does.
Of course, that raises the question of what The Rock’s best big screen beatdowns have been, and that can only mean one thing; it’s time for another KFK countdown! So let’s get rrrready to Rock ‘n’ rummmble, as we get into these Top 10 Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Movie Fights! (in descending order)
- Central Intelligence (2016) – The Office Fight
- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) – The Market Fight
- Walking Tall (2004) – The Casino Fight
- The Scorpion King (2002) – Mathayus vs Balthazar
- Doom (2005) – Sarge vs Reaper
- Fast and Furious 6 (2013) – The Airplane Fight
- The Fate of the Furious (2017) – The Prison Riot
- The Rundown (2003) – The Nightclub Fight
- Fast Five (2011) – Dom Toretto vs Luke Hobbs
It’s a variation on the underdog story – the chubby kid who everyone picked on in high school grows up to become a CIA superspy with muscles on top of muscles. 2016’s “Central Intelligence” sees The Rock in the role of Robbie Weirdicht, who reunites with his high school pal Calvin Joyner, played by Kevin Hart, on his latest top secret mission for the CIA. Unfortunately, they run into a little unexpected company at CIA headquarters, which forces Robbie to improvise, but it’s still more than enough to impress both Calvin and the audience with just how much he’s turned himself around from his days at the bottom of the social ladder back in high school.
This is definitely one of the more comedic fight sequences of The Rock’s career, but then, he’s always shown himself to be nothing if not versatile, and it’s quite the wish-fulfillment fantasy, indeed, to see the kid who used to be everyone’s favorite punching bag morph into the CIA’s MVP with the body of, well, a pro-wrestler!
Talk about a sleeper hit! “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” came right out of left field during the 2017 holiday season, and being a sequel that arrived twenty-two years after its predecessor, it’s honestly about fifty times better than we had any business hoping it would be.
Whereas the original “Jumanji” was all about a board game bringing the zoological inhabitants of its world to life, “Welcome to the Jungle” goes the opposite route and sees the “Jumanji” transform itself into a video game that our four young heroes get sucked into.
Gamer extraordinaire Spencer, played by Alex Wolff, finds himself inhabiting the body of Dr. Smolder Bravestone, played by The Rock, and for the first time in his life, gets the chance to pull fighting moves right out the fighting games he’s played his whole life against his and his friends villainous pursuers (fight fans should watch out for Jawed El-Berni of “Ninja II” fame)!
While not as Easter Egg heavy as this year’s “Ready Player One”, you know you’re witnessing a true love letter to videogames when The Rock Shoryukens an enemy through the roof, and it’s that, and countless other factors that make “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” among the best video game movies yet!
When you push a good man too far, whether by cheating gamblers with loaded dice or selling drugs to kids, all while bribing the local law enforcement to keep them off your back, he might just push back – or in the case of Chris Vaughn, hit back with a 2×4.
A remake of the eponymous 1973 film, 2004’s “Walking Tall” is inspired by the true story of pro-wrestler turned Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser, and while the film takes it share if poetic license, it’s a very satisfying payoff indeed to see our hero finally stand up to the decadent mob that’s getting away with just about everything right under everyone’s noses. Extra points also go to our hero’s little syke-out of one of his enemies at :43. Somebody make a gif of that now!
2002’s “The Scorpion King” kicked off The Rock’s rise to action movie stardom, following his brief portrayal of the character in 2001’s “The Mummy Returns” (which mostly consisted of his face being superimposed on a ten-foot CGI scorpion, but that was a very different time for summer movies)!
In any case, “The Scorpion King” won’t win any Academy Awards, but it’s still a pretty enjoyable cornball, sword-and-sorcery adventure, and this very fight sequence between our mercenary anti-hero Mathayus and the equally massive Balthazaar, played by the late Michael Clarke Duncan, proved more than a little hazardous for both combatants.
If those two swords that shatter at the beginning of the fight look like CGI, it’s because they at first tried it with a pair of real swords, which really did shatter and sent the blades whizzing right past both men, leading director Chuck Russell to replace them with CGI blades for safety. The Rock would also inadvertently put his elbow right into Mr. Duncan’s unprepared face near the end of the fight, which knocked him out cold for a few seconds.
The Rock’s showdown with Michael Clarke Duncan remains one of the highlights of “The Scorpion King” some sixteen years later, though full disclosure – this movie introduced a teenage me to Godsmack with their hit single “I Stand Alone”, which featured prominently in the film’s marketing and credits. So, I guess I’m a bit more sentimental towards “The Scorpion King” for that reason!
I’m just going to say it – “Doom” is underrated. Considering that even The Rock himself has spoken very disparagingly of it, that’s certainly a minority opinion. And yes, dispensing with the game’s core premise, involving an invasion from the pit of Hell itself, was probably a bridge the film shouldn’t have crossed. But as a basic space marines vs alien invaders action movie, “Doom” is far better than it’s given credit for, right down to the fact that it didn’t skimp out on going for the hard-R rating.
What’s more, for a movie based upon the pioneering title in the first-person shooter genre of video games, would you expect that its final fight sequence is one of its highlight moments? Pitting The Rock, in his first real villain role (his CGI-laminated appearance as The Scorpion King in “The Mummy Returns” notwithstanding) against a pre-“Dredd” Karl Urban in a beatdown of super-powered super-soldiers.
What really stands out here is also the different styles of combat blended into one, including Marine Corps hand-to-hand techniques, pro-wrestling maneuvers, and good old fashioned wire-fu.
“Doom” certainly made good on its source material with what was, for the time, a pretty historic action sequence in the form of the five-minute first-person shooter sequence. And it also gave the world one of The Rock’s best big screen brawls in a final fight scene more akin to something you’d expect to see in a fighting-game based movie. Pretty sweet way to wrap up “Doom”, wouldn’t you say?
“Fast and Furious 6” wraps up on what has to be the longest airport runway in the free world – but, by this point, this series had risen to such heights of reality-defying vehicular insanity that nobody in their right mind had any reason to complain. Seriously, who among us didn’t pump their fist in the air and cheer at the sight of Dom blowing his nose with the laws of physics during the highway chase (you know the part I’m talking about)!
In any case, the finale of “Fast and Furious 6” was just about the best ending the series had delivered up to that point, essentially a free-for-all pro-wrestling match inside of a plane trying to take off with cars harpooned to its wings dangling like teabags. I know my entire audience roared with approval at Dom lifting his burly opponent onto his shoulders, followed by Hobbs clotheslining the dude into the ground. Ditto for Hobbs assisting Letty against his former partner Riley, played by MMA fighter Gina Carano. Elsewhere, we might call that teamwork, but we all know that the “Fast and Furious” series is all about family.
I’m old enough to vividly remember seeing the humble beginnings of the “Fast and Furious” franchise when it was all about urban street-racing – you don’t exactly envision seeing an arctic car chase involving a nuclear submarine as the logical extension of that sixteen years later, but leave it to the “Fast and Furious” movies make that feel perfectly natural!
In “The Fate of the Furious”, Luke Hobbs finds himself wrongly imprisoned in the same prison as the villain of “Furious 7”, Deckard Shaw, with whom he had quite the memorable confrontation previously. While a straightforward rematch isn’t something the film has on the cards, it’s nearly as satisfying seeing them engage in a little verbal sparring, before a riot breaks out that sees Shaw fighting his way past a swarm of guards and his fellow inmates (watch out for a quick appearance from stunt vet extraordinaire Larnell Stovall) as Hobbs fights his way through the chaos to catch him.
The film stops just short of the Hobbs and Shaw rematch you’re expecting, but coming after such a satisfying prison riot, it’s certainly hard to feel short changed, and even harder not to feel glad that they kept Shaw alive at the end of “Furious 7. Bring on that “Hobbs and Shaw” spin-off!
Early on in 2003’s “The Rundown”, The Rock passes Arnold Schwarzenegger in a nightclub, who facetiously remarks “Have fun” to our hero. With “The Scorpion King”, essentially The Rock’s answer to “Conan The Barbarian”, having hit theaters the year before, that moment pretty much solidified Dwayne Johnson as the heir to The Governator, and “The Rundown” knows the best way to pass the torch is to get the audience to root for “retrieval expert” Beck to find a non-violent solution.
He’d always rather just collect his bounty and split, but his foolhardy adversaries never make it that easy for him. And immediately preceding the inevitable beatdown is Beck issuing an ultimatum that, to this day, I’m amazed hasn’t been immortalized as The Rock’s “Hasta La Vista, Baby”.
…And all of that is just the build-up – but needless to say, the very WWE-style opening fight sequence kicked things off quite nicely for “The Rundown”, with Beck even putting one enemy into the floor with the ole’ Rock Bottom. Next time, take Option A, my friend!
The “Fast and Furious” franchise wasn’t doing bad with its first four installments, but it was with 2011’s “Fast Five” that it really morphed into the series we all know and love today.
That can be attributed to a number of factors, such as shifting the focus from street-racing to a more globe-trotting take on automotive action, and bringing in a greater emphasis of fighting action amid the car chases and stunts. However, pulling The Rock into what has arguably become his signature role, of DSS Agent Luke Hobbs would prove to quite possibly be the smartest damn thing the “Fast and Furious” series has ever done.
As soon as the by-the-book Hobbs first comes face-to-face with the anti-heroic rebel Dominic Toretto without being able to lay a finger on him, the whole audience knew that this was the thunderous smackdown “Fast Five” was building towards. Our two heroes barrel into one another and smash through walls like two Kool-Aid men, and pretty much set the standard for fighting action in every subsequent installment of the series.
“Fast Five” left a mark on the series in all the best ways possible, and nowhere is that more evident than in Hobbs and Dom’s epic smackdown!
…and in at #1 is…
Furious 7 (2015) – Luke Hobbs vs Deckard Shaw
When you first saw “Furious 7” back in 2015, would you have believed it if you were told that the “Fast and Furious” franchise was going to be putting out a spin-off in which these two guys team-up?
You don’t usually walk into action movies having already known who the villain was going to be from the moment the last movie ended, but I can still vividly remember the audience’s gasp of delighted surprise when Jason Statham popped up at the end of “Fast and Furious 6”. And after tying up the series’ loose-ends of connective tissue, 2015’s “Furious 7” kicked things off splendidly with a knock down, drag-out fight between the series’ new antagonist, Deckard Shaw, and its most morally upstanding hero, Luke Hobbs. Our two combatants trash the office so thoroughly that it’s a wonder the building is still standing by the time they’re done.
Of course, Shaw would emerge as one of the more morally ambiguous characters of the series, and the chemistry and sharp-banter between he and Hobbs would lead to their upcoming spin-off. We may be soon seeing them fighting side-by-side in “Hobbs and Shaw”, but thanks to “Furious 7”, it’s coming after the series delivered “Hobbs vs Shaw” – if that doesn’t qualify their first encounter for the number one spot on the list, nothing will!
So there we have it folks, KFK’s RUNDOWN of 10 of The Rock’s best movie fights! Which battles from the list rocked your world the most? Let us know in the comments below, like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. (ROCK out and step into KFK’s FUniversity for more TOP 10’s and check out this in-depth interview with another pro-wrestling legend, Rob Van Dam!)