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Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.


Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris


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Movie review

Finding fun in the jungle

By BILLY NORRIS
Published September 29, 2003

The Rundown
[Universal]
You’re coming with me! The Rock, right, plays a bounty hunter hired to go to the Amazon and bring back the reluctant Travis, played by Seann William Scott, in The Rundown.
Billy Norris
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

The Rundown

RATING: PG-13

SUMMARY: Beck (Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. the Rock) is a retriever/bounty hunter working in Los Angeles. He makes a deal with a local entrepreneur to bring back his troublemaking son, Travis (Seann William Scott), from the Amazon jungle in Brazil. But Beck meets up with more trouble than he expected. First, Travis is smug and swaggering and refuses to go back. He is on the verge of locating a priceless treasure deep within the jungle and won't leave without claiming his fortune (and the prestige he will gain from the discovery). Beck also encounters Hatcher (Christopher Walken), a tyrant who has turned the jungle and its people into a gold-mining colony, under the harshest of conditions and treatment. Then there's Mariana (Rosario Dawson), the native Brazilian who just wants to protect her people and release them from Hatcher's evil hold. Put them all together and you've got one action-packed adventure.

MY VIEW: I have actually grown fond of the Rock's approach to acting. His menacing stature and often blatantly cynical jibes create quite a matchless combination. He doesn't take himself too seriously, and that works in his favor. When you pair him up with Seann William Scott's apt goofiness, then throw Christopher Walken (who is showing up everywhere these days) into the mix, you wind up with a fun flick. Their rain forest escapades - highlighted by close encounters with overexcited monkeys in the peak of mating season; paralyzing, hallucinogenic fruit; and parasites that can seriously threaten a male's well-being - will leave your sides splitting.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Don't expect to leave the theater without a dumb ear-to-ear grin on your face; this movie will keep you laughing all the way through. It's perfect for a teenage audience.

GRADE: B.

- Billy Norris, 15, is in the 10th grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times' X-Team.

[Last modified September 26, 2003, 13:50:08]

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