DAR Films: The Evolution of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-If you SMELLLL.... What The Rock.... Is Cookin! That is the phrase heard around the world anytime Dwayne Johnson steps back into a WWE ring to cut a promo, which happens periodically. The Rock began his career as one of the biggest stars in the WWF, but soon he would embark on a new journey as an actor. Having worked on his acting skills through wrestling, he was launched right into the world of film via the Mummy Returns, his first role, and then his first starring role in the Scorpion King. From there, The Rock showed enough charisma and had the looks apparently to make the world want to see more of him in film. Today, we look back at the journey of the Rock and his evolution as an actor from the small start on the big screen to becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood period.

The Rock doesn't have the longest acting career out there, but for the last 16 years, he's definitely turned into one of the most recognizable faces in the industry, and not just because of his WWE background either. The first Dwayne Johnson movie I remember seeing was Gridiron Gang, and I remember thinking that it was like The Rock had been doing movies for 20 years, he just seemed like a natural. The next Johnson movie I would see was another football film, but this time The Game Plan. I think this was the first time I saw Johnson in a role like this and it probably shows how (I think) his reputation lets him act out all sorts of personalities without losing that presence that "The Rock" had in the ring.

From then on, he appeared in many films such as G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Fast 5, 6 and 7, but I wouldn't properly see another Johnson movie until 2013's Pain & Gain with Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Mackie. That was an excellent movie, even if it was based on a true story. I would have to consider it my favorite Dwayne Johnson film. San Andreas, which came out last year, was the last time I saw him act, but there are definitely going to be more great movies coming from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

From the moment I saw The Rock take over "sports entertainment" in the WWF ring back in 1998/1999, I KNEW a day would come that Hollywood would get a hold of him. He was just too good looking, too captivating, too entertaining and way too charming to be stuck in a wrestling ring, so it came as absolutely no surprise when he crossed over to the big screen. As much as I love the Rock, I don’t love all his movies so let me touch on the few I do enjoy!

2002 was his first leading role in "The Scorpion King" and sure enough he brought with him the same "electrifying" personality we all loved. Was this a great movie? Not even a little bit, but it was very entertaining and Johnson captivated audiences effectively enough that the opportunities started pouring in.

The following year he was cast as the leading role in "The Rundown" and I enjoyed this movie. He pairs incredibly well with Seann William Scott. These two just feed off of each other's humor and personalities in a way that is so engaging for the viewer. The storyline isn't great, but you have the Rock in several fight scenes (which we love), arresting people (which is hot), and his serious yet humorous dialogue which manages to get an actual laugh or two. This movie was meant to entertain and engage viewers with action and adventure and The Rock was a great choice for that. He keeps things relaxed and adds a ton of his own personality to bring out his character. I loved him in this.

Now when the very first "Fast and the Furious" movie came out I instantly loved it, not for the storyline (at all), but for the beautiful souped-up, stunning imports. At first, Vin Diesel was my favorite, he oozed sex appeal and just had this attractive quality about him. That was until The Rock got added to the mix in "Fast Five" and instantly overshadowed Vin. The Rock had even more of that stuff and an incredible amount of stage presence. He executed the role of a "good" guy well, but his acting seemed slightly forced until he flipped the script and joined the "bad" guys. That's where I think he shined. He seemed a little more in his zone and the acting became slightly more natural. As always, The Rock meshes well with cast members and definitely adds to the entertainment value. His chemistry, dynamic, character portrayal, everything is on point, so much so that he continued with the "Fast and Furious" franchise which has now become pretty successful and having him in that is a highlight for us fans!

It’s not often we get someone with a huge amount of screen presence, personality and humor who comes along AND who is also incredibly nice to look at and captivates audiences this way. I thank the (now) WWE for introducing us to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. It was there that he was able to appeal to the fellas as well as the ladies! He was dope in the ring and that permeated to the big screen. Although he is the definition of “typecasted” it really doesn’t matter because without a doubt he entertains.

While Stone Cold is the biggest name of the Attitude Era from a wrestling standpoint, The Rock is without a doubt the biggest star on a mainstream level due to the crazy success he has had in his acting career. With his big budget debut in ''The Mummy Returns'', his brief turn as the Scorpion King impressed studio heads enough to get his own movie. With the spinoff, ''The Scorpion King'', Rock started off breaking a record for the largest salary for a leading actor in his first movie. It was a solid action movie, with Rock showcasing his natural charisma and physicality, though no one would mistake it for an Oscar winning masterpiece, but it is definitely watchable. Following that, we got what I still consider to be his best solo movie to date, 2003's ''The Rundown''. Starring alongside Sean William Scott and Rosario Dawson, this was still clearly The Rock's movie, with the perfect balance of humor and action for the early part of his acting career. 2004's ''Walking Tall'' allowed Rock to flex his acting muscles slightly more while still focusing on the action oriented movies. It was solid but forgettable.

The Rock's 2005-2010 period are the dark days of his acting career though as his management team at the time insisted that he drop ''The Rock'' as a name and go simply by Dwayne Johnson. Though he had a great, hilarious role in ''Be Cool'' as a gay bodyguard and the video game based Doom (which I maintain to this day is not at all a terrible movie), this period led to a run of bad Disney movies like ''The Game Plan'' and the infamous ''Tooth Fairy''. What is interesting to note, is despite the bad reviews the movies as a whole recieved, he was genereally always praised for his performances as he was beginning to come into his own as an actor. As much as it sucked to see him do those movies, it might have helped his career more than hurt it. The end of 2010 saw a return to form for The Rock as he dropped the excellent ''Faster''. This was a perfect return to the action movies that we came to know him for with one huge difference, as this was an action movie built around his acting skills and not just his previous career as a wrestler.

2011-present gave us the box office monster and superstar we now know with his turn as DSS Agent Luke Hobbs in ''Fast Five''. His performance gave the stagnant series a much needed boost and helped propel it to even greater heights. His ability to inject life into previously low performing franchises has earned him the very strange nickname ''Franchise Viagra''.  In 2013, we got his second best solo movie in ''Snitch'', where he played a father looking to get his son out of jail. In the same year, we got ''Pain and Gain'' which is hands down not only his most versatile role, but his best performance to date. 2015 saw the blockbuster disaster movie ''San Andreas'', as Rock continued to show that not only he can handle action, but dramatic scenes as well.

The Rock's acting career has seen its ups and downs, but he has shown the same sickening work ethic he did throughout his wrestling career and it has paid off tremendously. The future seems bright for him as he continues to line up movie after movie with ''Baywatch'', ''Central Intelligence'' and the potential blockbuster superhero movie ''Shazam".

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-I wasn't sold on the Rock as an actor at first. I mean, I thought he possessed the charisma to be successful, but couldn't see the longevity and amazing career he has amassed. Race To Witch Mountain and Southland Tales be damned, Rock has become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and his journey started merely from the WWE. When his career is looked back upon, he will be known as the most successful professional wrestler ever and the biggest crossover star of all time in wrestling. Now, while Rock isn't an actor who has shown too much emotional depth outside of his underrated starring turn in Gridiron Gang, he knows his role, so to speak(I know, I know), and stays in the lane which keeps his name growing. From Faster to Snitch, the roles he takes in a solo lead are getting better and he shows the capability to carry a movie. He's benefited from joining franchises that needed a boost, and saw a long string of hit films as a result. He pushed Hercules to success, G.I. Joe, Fast and Furious, Journey 2, and countless others to huge box office numbers and with a long string of films coming and being shoot currently, including a Baywatch remake film (no idea why, but hey it'll likely do big numbers) and his comedy action film with Kevin Hart titled Central Intelligence, he is sure to keep his hot streak alive. The evolution of The Rock from a wrestler who turned actor into one of the biggest actors in Hollywood today is undoubtedly something amazing.



  1. The Rock has numerous movies heading to theaters in the near future. Beyond that, he has attached his name to various projects, all of which sound like they will keep the one-time wrestler and current big-screen phenom in the blockbuster business for years. Because we know that you love The Rock as much as we love The Rock, we've documented the actor's next films.

    new movie with the rock


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