First Hit: That Dwayne Johnson didn’t break out into a fist fight and violent rage added to this films intrigue.
Johnson has shown in numerous films he has some range. Here, because of this size and build, I expected him to beat the crap out of his antagonists, but he didn’t.
Playing John Mathews in this film as a once divorced father of two children. His son Jason Collins (Rafi Gavron), by his first wife, gets into trouble and his integrity won’t let him rat out someone else for a lighter prison term. Seeing his son beaten from an altercation while in prison, Mathews decides to assist the government’s prosecutor Joanne Keeghan (played by Susan Sarandon) catch a bigger fish so that he can get his son’s sentence reduced.
To do this he befriends Daniel James (played by Jon Bernthal), an employee who has a felony history. Through this connection he finds himself in the think of a drug deal. How he decides to make the deal work for everyone requires him to create his own plan to save his family.
Johnson does a really good job of not using his size and bulk to make the role work; he uses his head and heart to make his character real enough. Gavron does a very good job of being the forgotten son that also wants to do right. Sarandon is OK as the prosecutor. Bernthal is really good as the guy who’s trying to do right for his family. Barry Pepper is wonderful and powerful as a federal agent. Melinda Kanakaredes is almost a bit over dramatic as Johnson’s first wife. Justin Haythe and Ric Roman Waugh wrote a fairly strong script from what based as a true story. Waugh also directed this film and generally it was well paced.
Overall: Entertaining and shows Johnson’s willingness to continue to grow as an actor.