He may seem like nothing more than muscles and machismo, but this former WWE superstar is on path to be an equally popular player in feature films.
At first, he was just a famous professional wrestler trying to make it in show business. As with many athletes trying to make the leap, it was not all smooth sailing. Before long, however, he was earning praise for his basic B-movie, Ah-nold lite performances. Then something happened to and with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, which elevated him from wannabe to true winner. He's now known as the franchise savior, having stepped into such struggling series like The Mummy, G.I. Joe, and The Journey to the Center of... efforts, and most importantly, the Fast and Furious films. Indeed, with the latest earning boffo box office (almost $400 million over the first weekend) and the previous installments also worldwide hits ($788 million for Six, $626 million for Five), Johnson seems poised to have his first ever billion dollar baby.
But there is more to this muscular mystery man than mind-blowing muscles and a tendency toward mayhem. Indeed, Johnson is one of the most self-aware stars we have, quite comfortable playing to his type as mocking it. He's also been careful with the project he picks, using each film, no matter how lousy, to test his demographic reach while seeing if there is a legitimacy to his new career. While it's hard to gauge his future success based solely on the limited efforts currently part of his canon, it's clear that his present tenure as a highly sought-after action star is secure. After looking over our choices for The Rock's best film roles, however, we can see the potential, and its powerful stuff. He could actually become one of the few genre icons who makes the leap to other, less stunt-oriented efforts.
Let's begin with an early dud which still highlighted what makes Johnson a near-superstar today: