At one point in the film, our hero, about to attempt another ridiculous stunt declares to no one in particular "This is stupid!" I feel he was addressing the audience who were in full agreement. At that point, loud laughter was heard throughout the cinema where I saw Dwayne Johnson's latest film outing.
To be honest, a packed cinema is the best place to see this film. The audience shrieks of disbelief and laughter add to the experience of watching Rawson Marshall Thurber's latest film. 2004's Dodgeball was the only other film from this director I had seen.
I don't believe I have ever seen a film with so much foreshadowing and exposition which you clearly know will be brought back into play in the film at some critical moment to move the plot along or provide the solution to a catastrophic problem for our heroes.
The plot essentially consists of our hero, Dwayne Johnson, having to rescue his family from a burning building and beating up some bad guys along the way. There is a checklist of tasks he must overcome before moving onto the next level of the game, if this were a game but it is a film whose narrative consists of putting tab A in to slot B in a pop-up book of script-writing. The plot is not taxing and the stunts are well conceived if a little ridiculous.
As a summer blockbuster, it is lackluster. Johnson provides his usual charming screen presence and this film does not stretch his abilities too much. Neve Campbell plays his wife and is just as capable of whacking bad guys as her on-screen husband.
I found it fun, if not slightly ridiculous but Thurber keeps a handle on the silliness and allows the film a measure of self-awareness that is refreshing without being self-indulgent.
You will see worse on the big screen this year.