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'Snitch': An Action Movie with a Message About Good Parenting

Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson is the dad; Susan Sarandon plays a hard-nosed prosecutor

PG-13 Running time: 112 minutes
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Rafi Gavron
Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Dwayne Johnson in Snitch

Dwayne Johnson in "Snitch." — Courtesy Steve Dietl/Summit Entertainment

If you happen to be the parent of a teenager who seems a bit high-spirited, you could do both of yourselves a favor and take him or her to see Snitch, the new action film starring Dwayne Johnson.

The film's valuable life lesson comes during the first five minutes, when a good kid does something very stupid. In a simple act that borders on passivity, he comes perilously close to destroying not only his life, but also those of everyone around him.

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For all the fiery car crashes, cocked guns and savage beatings that follow, Snitch manages to sustain a simple but profound lesson: Life often turns on small actions and minute decisions.

Johnson — and sorry, Dwayne, but you are forever destined to have your name apostrophized with your old wrestling nom de doom, "The Rock" — plays the owner of a construction company whose estranged son (Rafi Gavron) is busted by the feds for what appears to be a minor drug offense. Trouble is, an overzealous federal prosecutor (Susan Sarandon, who has mastered the art of smiling broadly while oozing evil) will put Junior away for a few decades unless Dad helps her haul in a couple of notorious drug kingpins.

A title card insists the story of Snitch is "inspired by true events," but I suspect the trueness of the tale has faded by the time Dad is hauling along the interstate in his 18-wheeler trading shotgun blasts with a caravan of bad guys in big sedans.

Former stuntman Ric Roman Waugh — who cowrote the script with Justin Haythe, the guy responsible for 1968's Oscar-nominated Revolutionary Road — has a nice sense for balancing action and drama. And he reins in the mayhem enough to keep Snitch's rating to PG-13 — just right for a friendly night out at the movies with that feisty kid of yours.

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