If you see a movie poster featuring Dwayne Johnson, you expect the artist formerly known as The Rock will eventually beat up something or someone. With "Snitch," you get beaten into the ground with a heavy-handed message, then pummeled by a gun-heavy final chase scene that attempts to compensate for the previous 90 minutes of boredom.
In this "inspired by true events" drama, Johnson plays John Matthews, a hard-working Missouri construction-company owner who is frustrated when his teen son Jason (Rafi Gavron) is nabbed by the DEA for accepting a friend's shipment of Ecstasy pills. Jason faces a 10-year prison sentence (as the hamfisted script delivers its wail against the unfairness of mandatory-minimum sentencing) and has no answers for the politically ambitious U.S. attorney (Susan Sarandon) who wants him to roll over on other drug dealers.
John offers to take Jason's place, enlisting an ex-con employee, Daniel (Jon Bernthal), to set up a meeting with a drug dealer (Michael K. Williams) who's hooked in with a Mexican drug cartel leader (Benjamin Bratt).
Just as John is ill-equipped in the drug underworld, Johnson gets in over his head trying to do serious acting. Director Ric Roman Waugh, a former stunt coordinator, saves all his energy for that final chase but the action comes too late to rouse your interest.
Opens Friday, Feb. 22, at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for drug content and sequences of violence; 112 minutes.