If it wasn't for "Fast Five," Dwayne Johnson would still be the walking punch line his wrestling turned acting career had become. His career was mostly a candy coated and generic action film mess up until that point. He was a secondary villain in "The Mummy Returns" yet went on to get a starring vehicle where that same character became the hero in "The Scorpion King," he was a pimp that wouldn't commit suicide in Richard Kelly's "Southland Tales," and his dancing pecs made "Journey 2" way more profitable than it should have been. Dwayne Johnson is 6' 4" and 265 lbs, so you expect him to jump for roles like the ones in "The Rundown," "Walking Tall," and "Doom." Big guys like that are made for action films and the most entertaining man in sports entertainment is the most profitable as a white knuckled powerhouse. Now that he's become recognized for more than his huge build, Johnson has a countless number of film projects in the works and is even your current WWE champion. He seems to be trying so hard to make his newest film "Snitch" work, but it just isn't able to find decent footing during its nearly two hour duration.
A wealthy construction worker named John Matthews (Johnson) has his life turned upside down when his son from his previous marriage Jason (Rafi Gavron) receives a large amount of ecstasy from a friend. Now facing at least ten years in prison, Jason refuses to participate in snitching out the ones he knows to reduce his sentence. John puts his own life at stake and goes undercover for the DEA to try and get his son back. As if getting his face out there for local druglord Malik (Michael Kenneth Williams) wasn't enough, John crosses paths with El Topo (Benjamin Bratt), a man who works for the cartel this side of the border. Blinded by the urge to see his son back home, John never thinks about the danger he may be putting his current wife Analisa (Nadine Velazquez) and daughter Isabelle (Kyara Campos) in.
Dwayne Johnson really tests the limits of his acting ability in "Snitch." It mostly seems like he's trying to throw his weight around at first by attempting to be imposing thanks to his large stature, but failing to get anywhere in the process. His tough and overprotective father exterior lasts for quite awhile as Johnson seems to purposely not show much emotion while visiting his son in prison or while getting sort of sentimental while watching home movies. The rest of the cast is affected as well as John's ex-wife Sylvie (Melina Kanakaredes), current wife Analisa (Velazquez), and son Jason (Gavron) all have scenes where they pretend to be crying and yet no tears make any sort of appearance. It's like whenever you see somebody brushing their teeth in commercials, TV shows, or movies and nine times out of ten they never use toothpaste. What's the deal with that anyway?
Once a little bit of weight is added to Jon Bernthal's character Daniel is when things begin to improve. Daniel is an ex-con, who did time for the same thing Jason is now facing, but Daniel is in the midst of turning his life around; he's a hard worker for John's construction company and is trying his damndest to be a good father and compassionate husband. He's also John's one shot at an introduction into the cold, dark place known as the drug world. Bernthal brings that same amount of intensity he became known for in "The Walking Dead" and easily outshines Johnson in the first half of the film. Johnson seems to take note of this and suddenly starts portraying anger and fear in ways you've never seen from the wrestler turned actor and even sheds a few tears.
However the action drama practically leaves the audience dangling until the last thirty or so minutes of the film. Every bit of genuine acting resides in those minutes and the majority of the action featured in the trailers is also crammed into the conclusion of the film. There is so much build up and so much put into what John is going to do. The entire film is riding on this ten minute segment at the end, but it all seems to happen so quickly and is nothing more than a few gunshots and totaled cars. The film may be "based on true events," but it feels way too overdramatic and John always seems to need whatever anyone says broken down into simpler terms. "When you say," and whatever the last person said posed as a question is used so much you begin to wonder if John is more than a little simple minded. One of his best lines is "Are the sprinklers on? Does everything have to go to s**t?" His line, "When you say assaulted," is where the title of this review came from.
Dwayne Johnson's acting skills have hit their peak in "Snitch" and the solid supporting cast including Susan Sarandon, Barry Pepper, and Benjamin Bratt in a rare turn as a villain is more than what this mediocre film deserves. Its stale dialogue, the ridiculous amount of weight the film puts into melodrama, the way emotion and action seems to be milked until the very end, and unintentionally humorous dialogue confine the film to its average restraints. "Snitch" is worth nothing more than a rental if anything at all.