Snitch movie review: The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, stars in thriller about teenage drug dealers

Like "Taken," which warned parents that their Europe-bound daughters just might end up as sex slaves requiring Liam Neeson to save them, "Snitch" is a sort of public-service announcement.

This time, we're alerted to the grim fate of accidental teenage drug dealers -- even those whose fathers look like action figures.

In "Snitch," an 18-year-old kid named Jason (Rafi Gavron) foolishly allows a friend to mail him a package of Ecstasy. Both are caught, but Jason's plight is worse: His friend frames him and therefore gets a reduced sentence, while Jason, with no one to rat out, faces a mandatory 10 years in prison.

Luckily, Jason's dad, John (Dwayne Johnson), after looking up "drug cartels" on Wikipedia, offers a deal to a U.S. attorney (a huffy Susan Sarandon): He'll go undercover into the drug trade and risk his own life, in exchange for leniency for his son.
 


Mobile users should click http://youtu.be/rieI5g9fgRc to see the movie trailer.


No one's going to mistake the massive Johnson (formerly a wrestling star known as The Rock) for a nuanced actor -- he sometimes falters in moments that require, say, acting while walking. But he's a likable, soothing presence, and he handles his devoted-father role with quiet confidence.

Despite a couple of nifty car chases (including one in which a shiny truck even bigger than Johnson rolls and slides with unexpected and impressive grace), "Snitch" is more of a dramatic thriller than an action movie, and director Ric Roman Waugh fills it with close-ups, dark interiors and tense faces. (Johnson's default expression is a sort of concerned stoicism, which suits the content well.)

It's a competent if unremarkable film, even though it lacks a certain suspense -- you never fear for a moment that John won't persevere in his quest to nab bad guys, save his son and amble into the sunset. Johnson, with his low-key charisma, may not yet be an actor, but he's certainly a movie star.

Rated PG-13 for drug content and sequences of violence.

112 minutes.

(Contact Moira Macdonald at mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.)

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, shns.com)
 

 

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