September 30, 2003
In The Rundown, an American named Hatcher (Christopher Walken) has taken over an area of the Amazon jungle in the middle of Brazil to dig for gold, and more importantly, the hiding place of a priceless artifact that a "fortune hunter" named Travis (Seann William Scott) has supposedly found. All the while, Hatcher claims to be the salvation of the people of El Dorado, bringing them into the civilized world by building their "city" in the middle of the jungle. If charging people for the shovels they dig with is fair, and a dozen shacks equals a city, perhaps he's okay after all.
One man who knows Hatcher is all wrong right from the get-go is "retrieval expert" Beck (The Rock), a bounty hunter hired to come to South America to bring home Travis. Hatcher forces Beck to pay a kickback to allow him to let Travis leave, but as soon as he decides the time is right, doublecrosses Beck, telling him Travis will never leave, at least, not until the Gato del Diablo artifact is in his own hands. Beck fights Hatcher's boys and runs off with Travis into the jungle, and the chase is on.
Hatcher greatest (or worst) quality has to be his arrogance. While working the people of El Dorado to early graves, he casually wears shimmering gold chains around his neck. While the rebels, hoping to drive Hatcher out of town, hide in the jungle, Hatcher sends his gang in clean house, finding Beck and Travis in the process. While his boys do the dirty work, Hatcher still finds time to get his trigger finger dirty too. Eventually, he does end up with the Gato in his hands, but has to fight off Beck not only to regain control of it, but to survive as well. In the end, the townspeople get exactly what they want, and Beck delivers on all of his promises. That's certainly something Hatcher never did.
INTELLIGENCE - 6: Hatcher is a shrewd capitalist who has found his own isolated niche in the jungle.
POWER - 4: Can handle a gun, but is a bit too old to get involved in the fisticuffs personally.
VILENESS - 8: Doesn't fight fair, makes deals he has no intention of honoring, and patronizes everybody.
SWAY - 8: Uses intimidation and his off-kilter delivery (pure Walken) to keep foes off balance.
PURITY - 7: Hatcher is extremely possessive of the town, the jungle, and everything else there, but in the end, he knows his limits.
PHYSICAL - 3: As Roger Ebert notes, villains often wear the titled hat. Indeed.
Posted by Destro at September 30, 2003 01:16 PM