In a world where wrestlers-turned-actors usually go straight to DVD in a slog of terrible B-actioners, Dwayne Johnson – formerly better known by his ring name as the WWE legend “the Rock” – came along and cemented his place as one of Hollywood’s most popular and bankable stars in just a couple of years.
His rise to the A-list began with a supporting role in the Fast & Furious franchise, but it wasn’t long before he was headlining his own vehicles. He remains one of the few stars who can lead original stories to box office triumph. So, here are Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s 10 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes.
10 Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (67%)
When it was announced that the Fast & Furious franchise would unleash a spin-off pairing up the mismatched characters played by Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson, fans were a little dubious. And then when the first trailer was released, showing Idris Elba’s villain giving himself superpowers, they were even more dubious.
But the movie actually turned out really well. It gets plenty of steam out of the hilarious energy shared by Statham and Johnson, and in between that are plenty of well-crafted action sequences, courtesy of Atomic Blonde director David Leitch. Leave your brain at the door and you’ll love it.
9 The Rundown (69%)
Long before Dwayne Johnson was the biggest movie star on the planet, he teamed up with American Pie’s Seann William Scott for this action comedy, which isn’t a stone-cold masterpiece, but is a lot of fun. Johnson plays a bounty hunter who is sent deep into the jungles of Brazil to track down his boss’ son, played by Scott.
As expected, the two are a delightfully mismatched pair – both likable in their own right, but with virtually nothing in common – that keep this cross between Indiana Jones and Midnight Run chugging along for its 104-minute runtime. It won’t leave you disappointed.
8 Fast & Furious 6 (70%)
The sixth Fast & Furious movie was Dwayne Johnson’s second outing in the franchise, but he was already a welcome and ingratiated member of the central family. While his first turn as Luke Hobbs was antagonistic towards Dom Toretto and his crew, this time around, he’s an ally of their team.
This was the movie that brought the gang to London and culminated in a set piece that took place on the longest runway in the world. As always, the laws of physics are ripped apart and put back together again, but when the action is this fun and the cast is this likable, who even cares?
7 Central Intelligence (71%)
Although Rawson Marshall Thurber’s action comedy Central Intelligence has a pretty generic plot with predictable twists, one-dimensional characters, and forced messages about bullying, it gets plenty of mileage out of the chemistry shared by Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Hart and Johnson are individually two of the most energetic, bubbly, charismatic leading men at the multiplex right now, so it’s hardly surprising that, together, they’re dynamite. Central Intelligence is not an all-time classic of the buddy cop genre – it falls into a lot of the genre’s clichés and pitfalls – but its two stars make it more than watchable.
6 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (76%)
This reboot of the Jumanji franchise was far better than it had any right to be. To take a beloved family comedy – and one starring the late, great Robin Williams, no less – and update it for a modern audience to turn a quick buck seemed like one of Hollywood’s worst ideas.
However, Jake Kasdan came in with a clear vision and a passion for his newly created characters and delivered an exciting, energetic cinematic ride whose sequel is eagerly awaited. He also shook up the formula in an exciting way by turning it from a board game into a video game, making way for some hilarious body-swap comedy involving the characters’ avatars (the rippling Dwayne Johnson, for example, is the avatar of a dorky, introverted teenage boy).
5 Fast Five (77%)
Dwayne Johnson used to joke that he was “franchise Viagra” – the guy who would join a franchise that was on the rocks like the G.I. Joe movies or the DC Extended Universe and give it the shot in the arm it needed to get back on track.
This all began with his first performance as Luke Hobbs, who is now a member of Dom Toretto’s crew, but started out as their adversary. In Fast Five, Hobbs is hot on Toretto’s trail as he plots a daring heist in Rio de Janeiro. The movie is rife with awesome set pieces, like the foot chase across the rooves of Rio’s slums, and Johnson sticks around for the post-credits stinger that reveals Letty is still alive.
4 The Other Guys (78%)
Adam McKay’s The Other Guys is really Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s movie (and their first collaboration, in fact), but Dwayne Johnson’s role is integral, too. He and Samuel L. Jackson play the absurd hotshot detectives straight out of a generic Michael Bay action thriller to whom Ferrell and Wahlberg are “the other guys.”
Early on in the movie, they find themselves on top of a skyscraper after some bad guys have ziplined away and cut the wire. They make a snap decision to “aim for the bushes” and jump off the roof, falling to their deaths. It was a shocking, weird, and memorable way to kick off the movie.
3 Furious 7 (81%)
Part of the reason why Furious 7 is the best-reviewed entry in the franchise is that it has a special place in fans’ hearts, being Paul Walker’s final film before his tragic and untimely passing.
James Wan directed the film as both a high-octane action thriller filled with set pieces that are each more ludicrous than the last and a fitting tribute to one of the franchise’s oldest and most beloved stars, so on both counts, it honors Walker’s legacy. The actual plot sees Deckard Shaw, the brother of the previous movie’s primary villain, coming after Toretto’s crew for revenge.
2 Fighting with My Family (92%)
Stephen Merchant wrote and directed this lighthearted biopic of the WWE wrestler Paige, which was released earlier this year to surprise critical acclaim and a strong response from fans. Dwayne Johnson helped to produce the movie, having worked closely with Paige in her early career, and he also appeared in the film as himself.
Most of the time an actor plays themselves, it’s for comedic purposes – like the casts of Curb Your Enthusiasm and This is the End – but in this case, Johnson was simply reliving something that happened earlier in his life in a way that’s heartwarming and family-friendly moviegoing fun.
1 Moana (96%)
After a string of hits during Walt Disney’s personal reign and another such string in the so-called Disney Renaissance of the ‘90s, Walt Disney Animation Studios has been having its third wave of consecutive hits in recent years.
Both with traditional princess stories, like Frozen and Moana, and Pixar-esque world-building gems, like Zootopia and the Wreck-It Ralph films, Disney’s own animation arm is finally back on track. Dwayne Johnson lent his voice to Moana as the demigod Maui, who assists the title character in her quest, and he’s a large part of what makes this such a heartwarming, loveable, fun family adventure.