Dwayne Johnson’s No Lose Clause Is Holding Him Back As An Action Star

There’s no doubt that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is an A-list star. The professional wrestler turned actor started making waves thanks to The Mummy Returns as the Scorpion King. Terrible effects aside, that skyrocketed him into different roles, and slowly, but surely, Johnson was one of the most well-known names in the mainstream. Johnson was very experimental early in his career; bouncing between comedy (Be Cool), drama (Gridiron Gang), horror (Doom), family (The Game Plan), and Thriller (Southland Tales).

We got to see Johnson in sentimental affairs that proved his dramatic chops thanks to films like The Gridiron Gang. His comedic chops were on full display during Be Cool and The Game Plan. Ultimately, Johnson settled on action films and it didn’t take long for the former WWE star to be this generation’s action icon. What makes him stand out is that the actor has tons of charisma. Plus, he’s built like an action star of the 80’s. That perfect combination has allowed him to get to A-list status within the industry.

However, Johnson incorporated a rumored no-lose clause into his contracts. The purpose is supposed to keep up his Alpha male image. In reality, that no-lose rule is holding Johnson back from being a true action star.

The Big Reason That Dwayne Johnson Was Able To Become A Mainstream Star

Dwayne Johnson Black Adam

Johnson showcased early in his career that he was a actually good actor. Whether his experimental roles were hits or misses, it was rare that the issues about the film revolved around his performance. Gridiron Gang, Be Cool, and The Game Plan shed the macho man image and allowed Johnson to flex his acting muscles that don’t rely on punching and kicking. It helped him to appeal to more of a mainstream crowd. Sure, most of that crowd were kids, but that was the key ingredient to him becoming one of the most bankable names in Hollywood because he smartly appealed to every demographic possible.

It’s also noticeable that Johnson is a savvy businessman who knows how to promote his brand. He didn’t need to settle for being an action star, but it was wise that he did because he’s built like one. The most notable aspect of Johnson’s earlier action roles is that he was more vulnerable to onscreen fights. His character won more often than he lost, but movies like The Mummy Returns, The Scorpion King, or The Rundown highlighted the flaws of his character that ultimately made him human.

How The No Lose Clause Is Holding Back Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson’s No Lose Clause Is Holding Him Back As An Action Star

Johnson is reportedly not the only actor to have such a clause. In fact, it’s rumored that he got the stipulation through Vin Diesel. Jason Statham is another name that has a special condition in his contracts as well. The no-lose stipulation makes these guys come across as invincible badasses, but it takes away the humanity behind their characters. Johnson does keep himself grounded thanks to him being a big personality on social media, but at this point in his career, it feels like he’s playing the same character over and over again.

Take Black Adam for example. Johnson looked great as a superhero, but he felt miscast as a character. He didn’t have the complexity of the anti-hero of the comics. It just felt like Dwayne Johnson trying to act as Black Adam. He never disappeared within that role because his performance was rather one note. The stakes were considerably lost because we as an audience know that Johnson ISN’T going to lose.

This has nothing to do with the rumored stipulation. If you look back at Johnson’s action films, he doesn’t lose. His action earlier films see him get beaten around a little more, and he is defeated in The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King, but the remainder of his action vehicles mainly see him not only go out on top but in a dominant manner to appear unstoppable.

Dwayne Johnson Has Killed The Hero’s Journey

Dwayne Johnson’s No Lose Clause Is Holding Him Back As An Action Star

How can we get invested in the hero’s journey if said protagonist NEVER loses? Johnson has lost what made him special because he’s no longer a dynamic performer. He shows up, kicks ass, and leaves. This makes him the perfect protagonist and these characters are extremely boring. We’re all flawed individuals. In his pursuit to look like an alpha male, Johnson has stripped away the key ingredient that’s essential to every film. He’s still a likable and charismatic presence, but his action films have become another Dwayne Johnson formula that doesn’t offer fun surprises. The longer the 51-year-old has that no lose clause in his contract, the more it sheds a once-promising image of an action star.

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