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Remember Snitch, the 2013 Dwayne Johnson movie where the wrestler-turned-actor plays the owner of a trucking company who goes undercover to bring down a drug cartel in hopes of getting his son’s prison sentence reduced? Well, it started trending shortly after being added to Netflix in September 2023, and I decided, “What the Hell, let me watch this for the first time in like a decade.” And I did. And I have thoughts, so many thoughts.
Okay guys, this movie is wild. Not over-the-top, off-the-wall crazy or anything like that, and The Rock doesn’t pull down a helicopter like he did in Hobbs & Shaw, but there’s a lot going on. From the absurdly messed up premise to a pre-Stranger Things David Harbour showing up for a cup of coffee to my hometown being the filming location, I had a lot of fun revisiting this mid-tier action movie from Ric Roman Waugh.
Snitch's Premise Is All Kinds Of Messed Up
The basic gist of Snitch goes something like this: John Matthews (Dwayne Johnson) goes undercover for the DEA after his son, Jason (Rafi Gavron) is framed in a drug deal by his supposed best friend who then turns on him. When Jason refuses to snitch on someone else to get a reduced sentence (or no prison time at all), his estranged father becomes involved in an operation that goes as far as a Mexican drug cartel.
Here’s the messed up part, federal prosecutor Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon) doesn’t really care if Jason is innocent or guilty, she just wants a conviction. Where’s the justice in that? What if John didn’t have a fleet of trucks to pull off this feat? Jason would be in prison. What’s even more messed up is that the movie was inspired by an actual anti-drug program that encouraged mandatory minimum sentencing provisions, as covered in a 1999 PBS Frontline documentary also titled Snitch.
I Really Miss This Type Of Dwayne Johnson Movie
Don’t get me wrong, I love what Dwayne Johnson has done with some of the best Fast & Furious movies (I’ll be there Day One to watch his return to the franchise), and his big action movies the past decade have been a lot of fun, but I’d love to see a return of the middle-of-the-pack modestly budgeted action movies starring the “People’s Champion.” Yeah, I know he had already played Luke Hobbs in Fast Five by the time Snitch came out, and he would reprise his role in Fast & Furious 6 a few months later, but Johnson had yet to establish himself as a massive box office draw at this point.
In the decade preceding the release of Snitch, Johnson led movies like The Rundown, Walking Tall, and Faster, which were all notable films, all that saw him play more grounded characters. Again, I love his massive blockbusters, but these mid-level movies had a level of charm that made them so much fun to watch.
This Movie Has Not One, Not Two, But Three Great Villains
There are a total of three main villains in Snitch, and they’re all great. There’s Joanne Keeghan, whom I talked about earlier. Technically, she’s on the side of law and order, which would make you think she’s a good guy, but nope, she’s ice cold and opportunistic, and downright awful. She doesn’t care about right or wrong, just a healthy ratio of convictions, and will do anything or throw anyone under the bus.
The late Michael K. Williams plays another villain in Snitch, Malik Anderson, who comes off like a less noble version of his Omar Little character on The Wire. Ruthless, violent, and paranoid, Malik is also a rather sympathetic character who seems like a product of the system.
Then there’s Juan Carlos “El Topo” Pintera, the cartel kingpin played by Benjamin Bratt. He hams it up for sure, but you can tell the Law & Order alum is having a lot of fun in the role. Again, not as bad as Keeghan up above, but he was going to kill John Matthews after that final run.
Wait, Is That David Harbour Showing Up For Like Two Minutes?
I completely forgot David Harbour was in Snitch, but I probably didn’t remember his performance as defense attorney Jay Price because he’s in the movie for like two minutes. It’s crazy to think about how much his career has blossomed over the years, going from a guy who plays small parts in Quantum of Solace and The Newsroom to being one of the biggest stars on the planet.
When I was watching the movie, I kept thinking to myself what character Harbour would have played if this movie would have come out in 2023 instead of 2013. Would he take the Dwayne Johnson role? He could do it. What about Jon Bernthal’s Daniel Jones, the former drug-runner trying to turn his life around? I can see it. Now I’m all excited about Stranger Things Season 5 again. Thanks, Snitch.
Is It Too Late To Get A Sequel Starring The Rock And Gerard Butler?
Dwayne Johnson plays a character with an estranged family in Snitch. Do you know who else likes to play estranged father figures in Ric Roman Waugh movies? None other than Gerard Butler. I know the movie wasn’t a big hit at the box office and wasn’t all that well-received by critics, but can we get a sequel where Johnson and Butler team up and take down a local drug ring, an international cartel, or sleeper agents within the U.S. government?
The grumpy dispositions, the annoyed back-and-forths, and the action would be stellar if this were to ever happen. Hell, I would even settle for Johnson to be worked into Night Has Fallen or Greenland: Migration if either of those movies end up happening.
Snitch Was Filmed In My Hometown, And Watching It Made Me Homesick
I’ve always had a fondness for Snitch, partly because it was filmed in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. In fact, I first signed up for Twitter back in December 2011 to challenge Dwayne Johnson to a match of WWF No Mercy on the N64. He never responded, but that memory, along with so many others, is still there.
The Luke & Dom Connection?
The shots of the skyline, the drug bust in the parking lot of Betty Virginia Park (which had the best playground back in the day), and the climactic chase on Clyde Fant Parkway all made me miss the city I called home for the first 23 years of my life. Watching the movie, which was filmed during my last winter in Shreveport, was a surreal experience.
All in all, rewatching Snitch for the first time in what seems like years was a lot of fun, for a number of reasons. I doubt the movie will make you homesick or oddly sentimental, but if you have a Netflix subscription and are looking for a way to kill a couple of hours, this will do the trick.