Ric Roman Waugh’s latest drama, Snitch, touches up on the hot topic of prison sentences related to drug busts. The problem with Snitch is it features action star Dwayne Johnson in a film with very little action. Snitch is an over-dramatic procedural drama that attempts to lay it on heavy with its over-acting and cookie-cutter characters that add up to zilch. The film works fine for straight-to-DVD material, but never overcomes its numerous problems to make it worth seeking out in a theater or paying full price for.
John Matthews (Dwayne Johnson) is a hard-working middle-class American that’s just trying to support his family by running his own construction company. His son from his first marriage gets mixed up in some large drug trafficking business that lands him a prison sentence with a minimum of ten years jail time, despite this being his first offense. Now, Matthews has insisted on helping the D.A. secure arrests of top dog drug cartels in exchange for a shorter prison sentence for his young son.
Snitch is a standard procedure drama about an everyday man getting thrown into the deadly and dangerous life of drug smugglers and the cops that bring them down. Matthews has literally no experience when it comes to going undercover or helping bust the bad guys, which makes his transition all the harder and that much riskier. But he continues to do the difficult task, because he loves his son dearly and he wants to make sure his son has a bright future that doesn’t involve sharing a jail cell with a rapist or murderer.
Ric Roman Waugh’s Snitch is one of the most poorly-advertised dramas of the year. Most of the trailers focused on Dwayne Johnson’s physical presence as an action movie star, yet the film is far from action-packed. In fact, there’s very little action at all. Making matters worse is the fact that the action that is featured here is shot amateurishly and without much control, leaving Snitch as a film that must rely on the drama and the performances delivered.
Unfortunately, Dwayne Johnson hasn’t exactly peaked as a first-class actor. He’s more of an action superstar, often using his sheer size and on-screen charisma to convey a bad ass persona. Snitch isn’t worried about that though. The film shoves Johnson directly into the world of hard-hitting drama and he comes up a bit short. There’s no denying that Johnson has stepped out of his comfort zone and attempted to raise the bar up another notch, but he doesn’t quite land it and because of that Snitch mostly suffers from poor performances that almost always feel over-acted and lacking any real emotion.
The story itself is fairly simple and uninteresting and Ric Roman Waugh’s direction rarely offers a look at anything that you haven’t seen in a TV courtroom drama about the legalities of the drug smuggling world and the ass-backwards prison sentences that give first time drug offenders more time behind bars than actual rapists and killers. It’s a hot topic to touch up on, but Waugh seems to only care about making the statement that it’s wrong, without ever bothering to follow through with it in an interesting manner.
Snitch isn’t a bad movie, but it is an extremely boring one that suffers from a cheap look and feel from the ground up. Director Ric Roman Waugh does absolutely nothing to convince the audience that this isn’t a straight-to-DVD drama, while Dwayne Johnson tries his hardest to turn in a career-changing performance, but ends up coming up a little short. He deserves points for trying to carry the film, but perhaps he should have never bothered with signing onto the project in the first place.
The film comes to Blu-Ray with an incredibly up close and personal 1080p video transfer. Detail is remarkably crisp and strong, which is a very good thing considering that most of the film has super up-close shots that could benefit from strong clarity and depth. The transfer is kind of dark and uninteresting from a color standpoint, but it looks great when factoring in the director’s choice of locations.
The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track kicks things into high gear early on and rarely lets up. The film’s overly-dramatic score comes blasting from the back channels, while dialogue and general chatter remain harnessed in the front three channels. What little action that is in the film is displayed loud and proud throughout the back channels, with a mix that can only be described as impressive and well-done.
Here’s a list of bonus material found on the disc:
- Audio Commentary with Director Ric Roman Waugh and Editor Johnathan Chibnall
- Privileged Information: The Making of Snitch (HD)
- Deleted Scenes (HD)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
- Digital Copy
Snitch is something that will sit very low on Dwayne Johnson’s recently stunning resume of action pictures. It’s his attempt to take things a little more seriously and for that he must get a little credit. Director Ric Roman Waugh unfortunately doesn’t do anything with the material and turns the film into a very lacking and slow two hours, with Dwayne Johnson’s fumbled performance coming across as the film’s only highlight.
The Blu-Ray is padded with a light assortment of special features and strong video and audio presentations, which makes Snitch nothing more than a painful rental should you choose to invest in it.