When I talked with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on September 7, 2006, time was of the essence. As befits his pop culture icon status, everyone wanted to talk to him. There was time enough, though, for us to cover crunching bones, popping tendons, and the turning point in his life, all of which he discussed with an unassuming attitude and, on occasion, a sly sense of humor.
Before seeing GRIDIRON GANG, I would have said that given the right sort of role, one with action, a greater or lesser dash of comedy, and no stretching of a thespian nature, that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a fine screen presence but not much more. I have been proved wrong. There’s humor and a fair amount of football action in this film based on the documentary of the same name, but the biggest hurdle Johnson leaps is into the ranks of legitimate actors. He’s got depth, he’s got some range, and he’s got the heart and sincerity to make them both work.
GRIDIRON GANG is gritty, intense, and thoroughly engrossing as it sweeps its audience along, and therein lies its strength. By being uncompromising in showing the problem, it makes the effort, not the final score of any particular game, the thrust of the story. By redefining what a winner is, it allows for human frailty, and makes genuine heroes of the most unlikely people.