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Unlikely casting gambit boosts cautionary actioner

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JOHNSON AND SARANDON. Team up in “Snitch.”

Tinseltown’s biggest action heroes are making their movies more viewable by enlisting female co-stars who aren’t conventionally associated with actioners.

The casting tack is inventive, and enables their explosive starrers not to kowtow too much to the obligatory elements of the genre—like “Parker,” Jason Statham’s recent collaboration with Jennifer Lopez.

Ric Roman Waugh’s “Snitch” has an even bolder casting gambit, because it requires Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to share the spotlight with—Susan Sarandon! The 66-year-old actress doesn’t have as much screen time as her 6’4” tall colleague—but, like Helen Mirren in “Red” and “The Debt,” the seasoned veteran disproves the notion that female sexagenarians can no longer roll with the punches!

True events

Inspired by true events, Waugh’s action-drama takes a swipe at some inequities in the US criminal justice system—in which, as the production claims, a number of first-time drug offenders are meted a longer prison sentence than those convicted of rape or manslaughter.

John Matthews (Johnson) blames himself when his estranged son, Jason (Rafi Gavron), is hauled off to prison after he is set up in a drug-related sting operation. To John’s horror, the charges against Jason carry a minimum sentence of 10 years!

To set his son free, John strikes a deal with prosecutor Joanne Keeghan (Sarandon)—who’s using her antidrug campaign to boost her chances for a seat in Congress—to go undercover for the Drug Enforcement Agency!

With a relevant theme at the heart of its conflict, the crisply paced drama has a cautionary ring of truth and believability that distinguishes it from The Rock’s other action potboilers.

This time around, Johnson portrays a tough but vulnerable hero—which makes him even more “relatable” to his audience!

Sarandon isn’t asked to do much, but she finds the perfect balance between ambition and strength of character—and, with a role that isn’t very likable, that’s no mean feat!

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