When "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" came out some 22 years ago(does that statement make anyone else feel old?), people were blown away by the special effects, especially when it came to the liquid metal-goodness of the T-1000. This reviewer was wowed by them as well when he first saw the flick, but something else stood out. After The Terminator 'borrows' the motorcycle and shotgun from the biker bar, he runs into John Connor and his nemesis at a local mall. And once he starts firing, he reloads his weapon in a rather unique way when he is on the bike: by flipping it.
For some reason, that little nuance caught this reviewer's fancy(so much so that he just Googled it and got results, so it must have caught others' as well). But unfortunately, The Terminator's dominance of all things tough-guy cool has been lost to Dwayne Johnson(is he tired of people still calling him 'The Rock' yet?). In "Snitch", Johnson fires a shotgun one handed, just like The Terminator could do. But The Terminator only did it from a measly motorcycle. Dwayne Johnson can do it while piloting a big ol' semi truck.
Aside from this brief showcase of superhuman feats, "Snitch" has very little in common with an action flick. It's better categorized as a drama, and is actually a little bit longer than the 95 minutes Fandango is advertising, so settle in. Dwayne Johnson is acting his heart out here, and there's no longer any doubt he's a bonafide movie star. He can certainly anchor a film; it's obvious he's still a little bit rusty when it comes to delivering some of his more blasé lines(almost like acting natural still feels like acting), but this is sure to improve with experience, and hoping that he's offered more roles like this. As the divorced parent of a teenager facing the mandatory minimum jail sentence for making a dumb mistake and accepting a package that contained narcotics, Johnson has the opportunity to expand beyond his usual tough guy persona from his action films.
When John(Johnson) decides he wants to help the Feds make arrests to get his son's sentence reduced, he deals with a prosecutor who is less than sympathetic to his predicament. Susan Sarandon fills the role, and the casting might be considered inspired if it just wasn't from way, way out in left field. She just doesn't seem to fit in the movie, and this will be explained further momentarily.
"Snitch" definitely has a message behind it and a definitive stance, but it waits until the last shot fades out to make its point, and the opinion doesn't weigh down the rest of the picture. However, if Sarandon holds the same view, it would go a long way to explaining how she got involved in the film. At points it seems like she's trying way too hard to make the prosecutor appear like one of the bad guys, and if that speaks to underlying political viewpoints it only cheapens the role and the rest of the picture around it. But "Snitch" actually tries for emotional connection, unlike the horrible "A Good Day to Die Hard", and it's clear that everyone involved cared about the film. They laid it all out on the table, and the effort pays off. The story could have just been a cheap setup to some big car chases and action set pieces, but it's not. "Snitch" is better than that, and as a result, moviegoers win.