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The Rock's 2021 Movies Both Try & Fail To Be His Indiana Jones

Dwayne Johnson's 2021 movies, Netflix's Red Notice, and Disney's Jungle Cruise seem to be The Rock's attempt at his own Indiana Jones-style franchise, though neither has come close to matching the classic film series. The Rock has spent the last two decades becoming one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He's headlined or co-starred in multiple franchises over the years, revitalizing the Fast and Furious franchise, and making Jumanji cool again. His latest films, Red Notice and Jungle Cruise, are the first installments in what are both conceived as ongoing series.

Red Notice has largely received negative reviews despite being the most expensive Netflix movie ever madeJungle Cruise fared slightly better than Red Notice critically, however, was still criticized for its overuse of CGI and liberal copying from better movies (including The MummyPirates of the Caribbean, and most notably, Indiana Jones). While Dwayne Johnson is his usual charming self in both movies, they are formulaic, predictable, and suffer from being both bloated and lightweight at the same time.

Related: Why Vin Diesel Needs The Rock To Return For Fast & Furious 10

Red Notice and Jungle Cruise don't try to hide their Indiana Jones influences (Red Notice even briefly references it with Ryan Renolds whistling John Williams' "Raiders March"). However, in emulating the globe-trotting/treasure hunt formula that was popularised by the Indiana Jones series, both Red Notice and Jungle Cruise invite unflattering comparisons. Raiders of the Lost Ark is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made, and both Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are worthy sequels. It's a series that has been embraced by generation after generation, and it's easy to see that continuing indefinitely. Conversely, while Dwayne Johnson's movies are usually successful, they are also more often than not also fleetingly lightweight entertainment that doesn't leave a lasting impression. It's hard to imagine future generations of movie fans enjoying a double bill of Red Notice and Jungle Cruise in 40 years' time, whereas the Indiana Jones movies (at least the original trilogy) remain endlessly re-watchable decades on.

The Indiana Jones series has stood the test of time, and it's clear Dwayne Johnson’s Netflix and Disney movies are him pursuing his own version of Indy’s formula in the hopes of achieving a similar franchise with its retention power. In trying to copy the Indiana Jones movies though Dwanye Johnson needs to realize that Indiana Jones is not a superhero. He's a (relatively) ordinary guy put in extraordinary situations, making it up as he goes. It's his tenacity and ingenuity that usually saves him, not the size of his muscles. When he gets into a fight, he's usually the underdog, which is one area The Rock struggles to find himself in. Additionally, while the Indiana Jones movies have spectacular action, they’re mostly filmed practically. Red Notice and Jungle Cruise also have action scenes aplenty, but they're full of unconvincing CGI, and evidently filmed on soundstages for the most part, and come off as hollow as a result.

Even though Red Notice and Jungle Cruise can't hold a candle to Indiana Jones, Dwanye Johnson is still a superstar. Jungle Cruise officially has a sequel in development, and Red Notice sets up further adventures. Hopefully, any follow-ups can fix the first installments' shortcomings and (if continuing to copy Dr. Jones), understand what makes the Indiana Jones movies so special.

Next: Red Notice's Bad Plot Twist Missed The Perfect Ending Opportunity

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