What makes Snitch is that Dwayne Johnson is playing an everyman who does the extraordinary to save his son. Is it heavy-handed in its mission? Sure, but that thud is felt by Johnson himself and the force of nature that he inhabits. But our Snitch review has to state that the film is let down by a script that brings its action with not quite enough heart.
Having heart is not normally something that is an issue with action movies. But, when the premise involves a familial pull, the audience needs more of a connection to those at the heart of the story than Johnson driving his Mac truck at warp speed while trying to bring justice to his son.
The premise, as teased in the Snitch trailer, is that Johnson is a successful businessman who has gone over and above to provide for his family. He is estranged from his son from another marriage and tries his hardest to connect. When his boy is arrested for drug trafficking, he is found guilty and sent to jail for a long time, courtesy of those nasty mandatory minimums.
Johnson tries to work a deal with the U.S. Attorney (Susan Sarandon) where he would go undercover to get the drug pushers higher up on the food chain. The nature of the mandatory minimum is that the Justice Department hopes that lower level drug dealers will turn on those above them to reduce their sentences. But, if the person charged isn't really a drug dealer, what is one to do?
The film is based on a true story, so it is hard to fault its premise. But it is the execution that has issues.
Johnson is up for the challenge of the role, as is the man charged with playing the central villain. As told to us in our Benjamin Bratt interview, he was drawn to the role of the drug lord because it's not one we've seen him do before. These are a new breed that are highly educated, trained in military maneuvers and have families to support who they will die trying to protect. Sound familiar? Well, it's supposed to be the flip side of the coin that is Johnson's character.
Bratt is outstanding and honestly the best part of the movie. Fans of Johnson will enjoy the Snitch experience, but it is unlikely he will be adding any fans to his universe with his latest.
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