In a trailer for “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” due August 2, Dwayne Johnson says, “I’m trying to save the world, which, for the record, will be my fourth time. ‘Cause I’m really good at it.”
The foundation, or rock, if you will, of Johnson’s film career is the confidence he brings to being humanity’s savior on repeat. Four times? That was just yesterday.
By plane, by train, by automobile and even sinking boat, this action star has made the fate of the world his business. Here’s a look at the many ways Johnson’s characters have helped keep civilization intact.
In this first spinoff film from the 18-years-running “Fast & Furious” franchise, Johnson is back as the lawman he began playing in 2011 with “Fast Five.” In that one, he helped take down a drug lord. The world saving began in “Fast & Furious 6,” in which Hobbs gets the street-racing, butt-kicking team together to take down an international terrorist stealing components to make a highly destructive device.
In “The Fate of the Furious,” Hobbs and the team help to stop a cyberterrorist hellbent on nuclear destruction. “Hobbs & Shaw” pairs him with an old adversary, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to help stop a cyber-genetically enhanced terrorist (Idris Elba), also hellbent on destruction.
In this high (like, really high) concept thriller, Johnson plays a super-everyman, leaping onto a tall building in a single bound. His character may not be saving the whole world here, but he’s saving his family, who mean the world to him.
As Sawyer, a security analyst for a record-setting Hong Kong skyscraper, he finds himself battling thugs who, in a quest to get what they want, don’t mind burning down the tower with Sawyer’s wife and kids inside. Pulse-pounding action has him hanging by a thread and, at one point, by his own prosthetic foot.
If a gorilla, a gray wolf and a crocodile are all exposed to a pathogen that turns them into mutated, oversized, havoc-wreaking killing machines, you might want to get somebody on that. Enter Johnson’s primatologist with a few ideas. “Let’s go save the world,” he says in that film before firing up a helicopter to head into a half-destroyed Chicago hellscape. All in a day’s work.
Central Intelligence (2016)
This espionage buddy comedy with Kevin Hart came with the tagline “Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson.” See what they did there?
Johnson plays a CIA agent who elicits help from an old high school acquaintance, Calvin (Hart), for a tiny task: thwarting an enemy of the state who stole encryption keys to the American spy satellite program with the intent to sell them. Action, jokes and world-saving ensue.Where to watch: Rent or buy “Central Intelligence” on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube, among other sites.
San Andreas (2015)
It’s pretty difficult to save the world from an earthquake, but the helicopter rescue pilot Johnson plays here does his best. He and his wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), put aside their relationship struggles in the midst of disaster in Los Angeles and travel by broken road, smoky sky and raging sea to rescue their daughter in San Francisco. California’s landmarks, and much of its population, are decimated in creative ways, but a family is brought back together in the process.
Johnson goes B.C. here to play the demigod son of Zeus in a way that the Nutty Professor’s family would love. “Before he was a legend, he was a man,” the trailer says. But don’t worry, the film provides plenty of opportunities for that man to be mighty and majestic. Wielding a spear, donning a lion head as a helmet, defeating armies and killing a wolf with his bare hands — it’s all part of his repertoire.Where to watch: Rent or buy “Hercules” on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube, among other sites.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
Johnson’s character here isn’t called Roadblock for nothing. He and his team discover that the American government has been infiltrated by the baddie Zartan. He gets several countries to disarm their nuclear programs and has fashioned Project Zeus, a series of weapons of mass destruction that could obliterate several cities. Not on Roadblock’s watch. He won’t stop until Project Zeus is deactivated. A real American hero.
This time, Johnson is saving Mars. In 2046, a research facility has been set up on that planet, and attacked by mutants. How did they come to be? Through science that got a little weird. A team of Marines, with Johnson’s Sarge at the helm, goes in to take care of business. Life lessons, and genetic engineering lessons, are learned in the process.
The Scorpion King (2002)
In one of his first major action film leads, Johnson is solid as, well, you know. This gives him the opportunity to save the prehistoric world. As Mathayus, he plans to take down the tyrannical ruler Memnon for the Scorpion King crown. That happens through sandstorm battles, bow-and-arrow artistry and fights with flaming swords.