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All 30 Dwayne Johnson Action Movies Ranked Worst To Best

August 5, 202312 Mins Read

Dwayne Johnson is one of the most bankable movie stars working today, and the actor has appeared in 30 or more action movies in his two-decade acting career (some of which are classics, while others have totally disappeared into obscurity). Johnson first became famous for his wrestling pseudonym, The Rock, and was known across the world for The Rock’s eyebrow, ridiculous one-liners (such as “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?“) and absolutely oozing charisma. It was clear very early on that Johnson was never going to be confined to just the wrestling ring, and in the 2000s, the wrestler applied his on-stage charm to action movies.

Johnson essentially attempted to break into Hollywood twice, as his first leg of acting in the early 2000s quickly fizzled out. It actually seemed like Johnson wasn’t cut out for acting and that maybe his wrestling persona should have stayed in the ring. However, the former wrestler learned from his mistakes and made better movie choices in the early 2010s. Instead of leading subpar action movies, Johnson was willing to build an impressive filmography as a supporting actor, which then led to the actor once again in lead roles, only this time it was in billion-dollar movies.

30 Free Guy (2021)

Dwayne Johnson robbing a bank in Free Guy

Free Guy is a fun movie about a video game NPC who begins to wonder what is going on in his video game world. The 2021 release is in no way a bad film, but in terms of Dwayne Johnson action movies, Free Guy doesn’t give the actor a platform to show off his unrivaled charisma. In the movie, Johnson doesn’t even show his face and his role is simply a voice-only cameo, as the former wrestler plays a bank robber with his face covered by a balaclava. It’s one of the many fun celebrity cameos in Free Guy, but it isn’t exactly a Dwayne Johnson action movie.

29 Doom (2005)

Dwayne Johnson with a big gun in Doom

Doom is an action movie based on the video game series of the same name, and just like most video game movies of the era, the 2005 release doesn’t totally take the source material seriously and is more of a schlocky B-movie than a faithful adaptation. Doom almost killed Johnson’s career, as it was the actor’s third box office bomb in a row. However, interestingly, instead of playing the movie’s hero, Johnson plays Sarge, who becomes a villain. Given Johnson’s current brand and his contracts literally stating that he can’t lose a fight, there’s no way he’d ever take a villain role at this point in his career.

28 Walking Tall (2004)

Dwayne Johnson and Johnny Knoxville with a shotgun in Walking Tall

Walking Tall follows a military officer, Chris Vaughn, who returns to Washington to find work at a lumber mill. However, when he finds out that the lumber mill has turned into a casino and is operated by criminals, Chris takes on the crime and corruption in the area without the police’s help. Johnson is great in the role as it shows his potential as a leading man, especially as he plays something of a vigilante, a type of character that he has become known for with Black Adam. However, Johnson’s performance is the only silver lining in the movie, which is full of confusing action sequences and cringey dialogue.

27 Baywatch (2017)

Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron on the beach in Baywatch

Baywatch is a remake of the popular TV show of the same name, and it follows the tried and true formula established by 21 Jump Street, as the 2017 movie’s jokes make fun of itself and the TV show it’s based on. Not only that but the movie remake also elevates the series into a high-octane action movie. Unfortunately, Baywatch had the worst ratings in Johnson’s career. 2017’s Baywatch was criticized for lacking the original’s charm and campiness, proving that a movie needs more than just charismatic actors like Johnson and Zac Efron to be a success.

26 Empire State (2013)

Dwayne Johnson in a police station in Empire State

2013 saw Johnson expand his range by playing a rather dramatic role in Empire State. The 2013 release is full of action, but the heist drama’s high stakes demand more passionate and intense roles from its actors as opposed to something like Baywatch. However, once again, the only praise that was given to Empire State was Johnson’s performance. Johnson might have proven he has more range than what audiences thought, but the tone of the movie is all over the place, as Empire State constantly switches between flashy action and gritty drama so quickly that audiences might get whiplash.

25 Get Smart (2008)

Dwayne Johnson points a gun at Steve Carell in Get Smart

Get Smart is based on the 1960s spy movie of the same name, and as 2008 was shortly after Johnson’s profile was at an all-time low following a string of box office bombs, the actor took a backseat, playing the supporting character Agent 23. The movie isn’t great, but it has enough laughs, most of which come from Johnson hamming it up as a villainous double agent. If his time in wrestling hadn’t already done so, Get Smart proved that Johnson wasn’t afraid to look silly in movies, though that might have changed in the years since.

24 Faster (2010)

Dwayne Johnson in a car in Faster

The 2010 movie certainly sounds like it’s part of the Fast & Furious franchise (and the title on the poster has a suspiciously similar font to the Fast & Furious logo). However, Faster could basically act as Johnson’s audition for the billion-dollar franchise, as the 2010 movie is in the same vein with its crime story and fast cars. The film is a cat-and-mouse action thriller between a criminal and a corrupt cop. Faster was badly reviewed upon release, but there are enough cheap thrills in the lean 90-minute action movie, and it ultimately marked Johnson’s comeback as a lead actor.

23 Fast X (2023)

Hobbs looks suspicious in Fast X

Once again, it’s hard to call Fast X a Dwayne Johnson action movie, as Johnson appears in Fast X’s post-credits scene only. The actor reprises his role of Luke Hobbs, who hasn’t been seen in the franchise since Fate of the Furious (excluding the spinoff Hobbs & Shaw). Despite claiming that he would never return to the franchise, Johnson’s appearance in the Fast X post-credits scene sets up Hobbs’s comeback with another spinoff and maybe even a role in Fast & Furious 11. Given that Fast X was criticized to no end upon release for not making any sense, Johnson’s cameo is ironically the best thing about the 2023 movie.

RELATED: Fast & Furious Movies In Order – How (& Where) To Watch By Release Date & Chronologically

22 Skyscraper (2018)

Dwayne Johnson bandaging himself in Skyscraper

Skyscraper follows former FBI agent Will Sawyer, who must save his family from a newly built Hong Kong skyscraper during a terrorist attack. The movie has so many similarities to Die Hard that it could easily be mistaken for a remake. However, Skyscraper’s quality is in no way on the same level as the 1988 classic. The biggest problem with Skyscraper is that, while Die Hard’s John McClane is an average NY cop that that’s thrown into an impossible situation, no viewer doubts for a single second that Dwayne Johnson’s character will save the day.

21 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012)

Dwayne Johnson looking up in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Johnson seemingly has an interest in adventure movies, and he could be to thank for the genre not completely dieing. While there are significantly fewer adventure movies than there used to be, Johnson is keeping the genre alive. From the Jumanji series to Jungle Cruise, Johnson thrives in the genre, but Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is the one exception. The 2012 movie, which is a standalone sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, is instantly forgettable. However, while there isn’t much of a narrative, the film is stitched together with fun and ridiculous vignettes.

20 G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

Dwayne Johnson looking at his armor in G.I. Joe - Retaliation

Following Fast Five, every studio quickly realized the box office power of Dwayne Johnson, and they utilized Johnson by throwing him into any failing franchise that still had potential. G.I. Joe: Retaliation is one of the best examples, as the 2013 movie followed 2009’s underperforming G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra. The sequel is full of big-budget action sequences and movie stars sharing the screen together, but while it looks glossy, the movie still has a lot of problems. Most notably, G.I. Joe: Retaliation killed off Duke, and it’s a clear sign of how great of a character he was that Paramount needed both Johnson and Bruce Willis to make up for Duke’s early death.

19 Hercules (2014)

Dwayne Johnson in battle in Hercules

Coincidentally, Hercules is one of two movies released in 2014 about the son of Zeus (with the other being The Legend of Hercules), and the Johnson-starring movie is by far the superior film of the two. Hercules is funny and has an impressively large scale with grand action sequences. However, despite Johnson’s brawn making him perfect to play Hercules when it comes to appearance, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it’s Johnson playing the character, and it’s almost impossible to suspend disbelief. Nevertheless, the movie is still endlessly entertaining, and only Johnson could play the son of Zeus without the necessity of any muscle padding.

18 San Andreas (2015)

Dwayne Johnson flying a helicopter in San Andreas

While disaster movies were wildly popular in the 1990s and the 2000s, the genre doesn’t quite have the appeal it used to. However, that’s unless it features Dwayne Johnson, as the 2015 disaster movie San Andreas made an impressive $474 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo). San Andreas suffers from the same problems that most disaster movies do, as the plot is silly and nonsensical, and the characters are underdeveloped. Nevertheless, the digital effects are incredible, Johnson absolutely embodies an action hero, and the actor has great chemistry with Carla Gugino too.

17 Rampage (2018)

Dwayne Johnson with a giant ape in Rampage

Rampage is another disaster movie from the same director as San Andreas, and the 2018 movie is the better of the two simply because it knows its audience. The movie follows a primatologist who teams up with a gorilla that turns into a giant creature. The gorilla continues to grow following a rogue experiment and goes on a rampage in Chicago. The movie might not have been liked by critics, but Rampage is a total audience pleaser and a popcorn flick that delivers on over-the-top destruction, and it has a totally unpretentious sci-fi narrative.

16 Red Notice (2021)

Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds in a warehouse in Red Notice

Being another action-adventure movie, Red Notice teams Johnson up with two other huge movie stars (Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot). Netflix has gotten into a habit of making big-budget glossy action movies with A-list actors, but is the best of them all. As a result, Red Notice is Netflix’s biggest and most watched movies ever, as it has brought in over 453 million hours from subscribers of the streaming service, making the 2021 movie a huge success and proving that Johnson makes movies for his fans, not critics.

15 The Scorpion King (2002)

Dwayne Johnson leading a group of warriors in The Scorpion King

The Scorpion King might not have gotten the best reviews upon release, but the 2002 movie is significant for a number of reasons. The Scorpion King was Johnson’s first-ever lead role in a movie, and if it wasn’t for this film, the course of Hollywood would have been completely different and Johnson likely wouldn’t have become the biggest movie star in the world. The Scorpion King has also gained a significant cult following, as the movie’s action sequences are still exciting, and it embraces the goofiness of the series. The 2002 release also has something of a legacy, as it has gotten three sequels, even if they were direct to DVD.

14 Snitch (2013)

Dwayne Johnson looks angry in Snitch

Following Taken, so many studios copied the formula of a rogueish, past-his-prime enforcer-like character going undercover and seeking revenge. Snitch is one of those movies, as Johnson plays John Matthews, who goes undercover for the DEA when his son is framed in a drug deal. For an action movie with a $25 million budget (via Collider), Snitch has great production value, and it’s an intense action thriller with a great supporting cast, including David Harbour and Jon Bernthal. While other Johnson action movies at the time are fun and silly, Snitch is grounded and serious, and for the most part, it works extremely well despite its uninspired script.

13 Black Adam (2022)

Black Adam looks furious in Black Adam

The Rock’s DC plans backfired, and Johnson’s influence as a producer on Black Adam might have harmed the film’s potential instead of helping it. Everything about the movie in the grand scheme of the DCU is a failure, most notably Cavill returning as Superman in the post-credits scene (which, according to Digital Spy, is one of Johnson’s demands).

Nevertheless, Black Adam is still one of the most exciting DC movies, and it’s obvious that the movie was Johnson’s passion project, as he delivers one of his best performances and one that isn’t like his real-life persona. Black Adam even manages to balance the dark tone of the Snyderverse with the more lighthearted direction that Warner Bros. had been trying to perfect for years.

RELATED: Every Main Character In Black Adam Ranked By Comic Book Accuracy

12 The Fate Of The Furious (2017)

Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs in The Fate of the Furious

The Fate of the Furious is the third and final movie in the main Fast & Furious series where Johnson has a main role. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most disappointing movies in the series, and that has something to do with The Rock and Vin Diesel’s feud, which drastically hurt the Fast & Furious franchise. Johnson and Diesel didn’t shoot a single scene together, and the one scene they do have together was achieved in post-production. Nevertheless, it’s still a Fast & Furious movie, and the eighth release is just as full of bombastic physics-defying action, and Johnson’s chemistry with everyone besides Diesel is as entertaining as ever.

11 Pain & Gain (2013)

Dwayne Johnson lifts weights in Pain & Gain

Given the talent involved, the Michael Bay-directed Pain & Gain came as a huge surprise, as the action crime drama had an extremely low budget compared to other Bay movies. Pain & Gain is more of a character study and is based on a true story of three bodybuilders attempting to rob a millionaire. The movie is relatively light on explosions for a Bay movie, and while Bay still struggles to drop his worst habits, such as gratuitous shots of women, Pain & Gain is still a huge achievement for the director. That’s partly thanks to Johnson’s commitment, as the actor hilariously plays the dumbest criminal alive.

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