1 Movie Nearly Killed The Rock’s Action Career (Before Fast Five Saved It)

Dwayne Johnson cemented his movie stardom by playing Hobbs in Fast Five, though one 2005 blockbuster nearly tanked his action movie career.

One movie very nearly killed Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s action career – until Fast Five saved it. The charisma of The Rock during his early WWE days was undeniable, but despite being tipped as a potential movie star, the history of wrestlers turning to act wasn’t pretty during this era. The filmographies of Hulk Hogan or Roddy Piper – They Live aside – were littered with duds, but The Rock scored two back-to-back hits with his film debut in The Mummy Returns and its spinoff series The Scorpion King. At this point, it appeared becoming an A-lister was inevitable.

1 Movie Nearly Killed The Rock's Action Career (Before Fast Five Saved It)

To underline this point, Arnold Schwarzenegger gave Johnson a symbolic passing of the action star torch in 2003 buddy comedy The Rundown; Arnie passes Johnson’s character at a club and tells him to “Have fun.” Unfortunately, The Rundown was a box-office disappointment for The Rock, while his remake of ’70s thriller Walking Tall didn’t do much business either. Even an attempt to branch out to comedy with a supporting role in 2005’s Be Cool was met with shrugs.

Doom’s Reception “Proved” The Rock Wasn’t A Star

Dwayne Johnson and Karl Urban in Doom.

2005’s Doom appeared to be his last chance to prove the naysayers wrong. Despite being offered the hero role – ultimately played by Karl Urban – Johnson opted for the spicer part of Sarge, who becomes the villain. Despite adapting the popular video game and being given a generous budget by Universal, Johnsons’s Doom movie was essentially DOA. Reviews tore apart its clichéd script, its liberally ripping off of Alien AND Aliens, and lack of faithfulness to the game. Doom also failed to recoup its budget.

After three box-office disappointments in a row, Doom seemed to confirm Johnson wouldn’t be inheriting the mantle of Arnie or Stallone. Of course, the issues with Doom were largely down to the writing and direction, as the actor himself would discuss with MTV. The failure of the film and his sci-fi epic Southland Tales would see Johnson focus mostly on family-friendly comedies like The Game PlanGet Smart and The Tooth Fairy instead, which were all hits but didn’t feel like the kind of material he was best suited for.

Fast Five Finally Gave The Rock His Perfect Screen Hero

Toretto vs Hobbs in Fast Five, Hobbs in Furious 7

Just like Arnold with The Terminator, it took Johnson a few years to find his perfect onscreen avatar. He found that with the character of Agent Hobbs, who was tasked with running down Dom and his “family.” Johnson’s intense, scene-stealing turn reignited his action career in a big way, leading to multiple Fast & Furious sequels, the Jumanji movies and Rampage. He’s come a very long way in his career since Doom, with his subsequent success being a good example of why some actors shouldn’t be counted out after a couple of disappointments.

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