In case you didn’t know, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has acted in a staggering number of films that take place primarily in the jungle. Seriously, if you haven’t ever noticed, there are six movies in his filmography dating back to 1999 that feature this wild environment. A further two have elements in them that are jungle-adjacent, and Moana can even be considered a bit of a jungle flick even though most of it takes place on the open ocean. (We know you needed that reminder ⏤ you’re welcome.)
Learning about The Rock’s affinity for tangled vegetation might make one curious about which of his jungle-themed movies are the very best. Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled the perfect list. Below you will find our ranking of Dwayne Johnson’s finest films featuring everything from screeching monkeys to boats sailing over the edges of watery cliffs. These films can provide much in the way of the action-packed escape you likely right about now and ⏤ bonus! ⏤ won’t leave you with any of the diseases you might find in an actual jungle. Again, you’re welcome.
10. Fast Five (2011)
We’ll start with a film that’s jungle-adjacent. The Rock is a fitting antagonist to Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto in Fast Five. Seeing the pair face off is a delight, though it has clearly boiled over into real life, and our only complaint is that given Johnson’s love for the tropics, we should have seen them duke it out near a river brimming with piranhas to elevate the stakes a bit. Fast Five of course features beautiful people doing dangerous things involving cars and heists and drug cartels, and while it could have used a smidge more jungle over the course of its two-hour runtime, it’s required viewing if you want to get the most out of your Fast and Furious experience.
9. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012)
This jungle flick finds Johnson in the sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth starring Brendan Fraser and Josh Hutcherson. In Journey 2, Johnson is a caring stepfather who jaunts around a curious island with some adventurous kids. Thankfully we get a bit more jungle here, not to mention the shaved head we’ve come to know Johnson for, and he does a good job eschewing his naturally tough appearance. A scene in the trailer above in which an animal intimidates him to the extent that he feels emasculated is a fine example of his powers as a comedic actor, something he would capitalize on with future jungle forays.
8. Rampage (2018)
This film is based on the popular arcade game from decades ago and is another in which Johnson is a stone’s throw away from the jungle. His gorilla friend George comes from the jungle regions of Africa, and although the movie is pretty dumb, it’s amusing nonetheless. We give Johnson a lot of credit for keeping the gorilla alive ⏤ he was originally supposed to die ⏤ and think he should have taken the serum himself to become giant like him and fought over a densely wooded area in the end. Then again, there’s always room for a sequel. Knowing Johnson, he’d be the first to swing on that particular vine.
7. Red Notice (2021)
Much of this Netflix original takes place in settings outside of the jungle, but the third act relocates there for the same kind of action sequences Johnson has become famous for. He served as a producer on this ⏤ so we’re surprised he didn’t have more outdoor scenes ⏤ and while it was not this writer’s preference, he does have good chemistry with Ryan Reynolds. There’s also a twist in the piece you may not be expecting, which further proves that Johnson is a bit of a wild card with room to grow into an even finer performer as his career continues to grow in direct proportion to his arms.
6. The Mummy Returns (2001)
While Johnson has little more than an extended cameo here as the antagonistic Scorpion King, there are sequences that find him in a newly created jungle not far from Egyptian pyramids. Sure, the effects look poor by today’s standards, but he did a good enough job to get his own standalone film and it’s fun to see where he began his early acting days before propelling himself to his eventual highest-paid actor status. It’s also worth noting that unlike the horrific Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, this sequel to 1999’s The Mummy crafted some exceptionally clever fan-service moments that admittedly do not involve The Rock but are worth their weight in repeat viewings.
5. The Rundown (2003)
Far and away, this is one of The Rock’s best movies that takes place in the jungle. He has great chemistry with Sean William Scott, Christopher Walken is a charming antagonist, and the movie barely leaves the setting at all, proving that Johnson is more than comfortable making the bulk of his cash surrounded by trees. A scene near the end where his character defeats several goons after refusing guns is a particular highlight. We hope a sequel happens one day, though if it does, the filmmakers should give the character what he wants and keep him outside for the full duration.
4. Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
While this movie experienced a slight critical comedown from its predecessor, it reunited us with our favorite characters from the live-action role-playing game that continues to excite and surprise decades after the 1995 original. Johnson doing an imitation of Danny DeVito is hilarious, and the sequence shown in the trailer with a number of fearsome primates is the exact kind of escalation you want in a film like this. A sequel should amp up what The Rock loves most and take place on a jungle planet (even though the ending of Next Level alludes to the jungle coming back to life in the characters’ real world just as it did in the original). Either way, we’re gonna need to see Johnson go toe-to-toe with a crocodile pretty soon here.
3. Moana (2016)
As we said above, this one is a bit debatable, but we’ve decided to err on the pro-jungle side here. It’s Moana, after all, one of the best Disney films in recent years and a total vehicle for The Rock, who we didn’t know could sing that well or make us laugh that much, thus making it one of his best films overall. The animation ⏤ particularly the water effects ⏤ is simply gorgeous and The Rock’s performance as the Polynesian trickster god Māui is nothing short of delightful. It will be interesting to see Johnson return to this culture in the future ⏤ that is, if the planned work about Hawaiian King Kamehameha ever achieves liftoff.
2. Jungle Cruise (2021)
Johnson just cannot quit his natural habitat and we’re thankful it led to him star in what is his second-best movie involving the jungle. Here, he channels everything he learned from the Jumanji films into a new adventure that finds him paired with a different sidekick (the saucy Emily Blunt). There are some darker elements beneath the surface in this film, which is refreshing, and outside of those, Johnson does a good job of recreating what it’s like to take the ride the film is based on. Will there be a sequel? Probably. Lord knows there are plenty of other box office jungles out there for Johnson to cruise through, and this potential franchise-starter certainly paves the way.
1. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
Belated sequels intended to serve as relaunches of dormant franchises are hard to pull off, but Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle had a surprising amount of heart that blended nicely with the comedy elements we were expecting. One of the more brilliant strokes was having Johnson play the avatar of a teen with confidence issues who is sucked into the titular game and must lead his team to victory. It’s understandably campy, but the action sequences are solid, and seeing Johnson’s Dr. Smolder Bravestone awkwardly try to kiss a girl for the first time will leave you on the floor clutching your sides. The jungle, in case you were wondering, also features prominently and is essentially its own character in what has quickly become Johnson’s preferred cinematic playground. Now that Jumanji has become a franchise, we can fully expect to see him back in the jungle in no time.
Johnson’s next big film is Black Adam, though there has been no word on whether or not his titular antihero will be running alongside elephants or hopping from branch to branch. We’ll know more when it hits theaters in July, but until then, we’ll gaze longingly at every patch of dense forestry we come into contact with, wondering if maybe, just maybe, the hulking form of Dwayne Johnson will step through the trees, beckoning us toward our next tropical adventure.