Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of America’s most storied entertainers. Upon his entrance into the (then) WWF in 1996, Johnson quickly excelled as a performer, rapidly rising in the wrestling ranks to become one of the greatest to ever step into the ring. Yet that wasn’t enough for Johnson, as he soon set his eyes on conquering another equally grueling ladder: Hollywood.
Johnson has come a long way since his first acting role in 2001’s The Mummy Returns, becoming one of the most successful and highest-paid actors in the industry, as well as an extremely smart producer. This week, he’ll make his Netflix debut with Red Notice, an action-comedy film co-starring Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds in what is the most expensive movie ever for the streaming service.
Ahead of Red Notice, we’ve decided to rank the best movies of his career—so far. Johnson’s full CV spans many, many more titles not included here, so we whittled the list down to a manageable 15, ranked from worst to best. Our selections, below.
31. 'Journey 2: The Mysterious Island'
Rotten Tomatoes: 45 percent (Critics), 59 percent (Audience)
Journey 2 is getting included here because it feels important in the trajectory of Johnson’s career as a leading man. Stepping in here for Brendan Fraser, this would be one of the many times a sequel to a movie moves forward based on the strength of Johnson’s name alone. Unfortunately, the film itself is pretty forgettable, but shoutout to Johnson’s truly incredible pecs.
29. 'San Andreas'
Rotten Tomatoes: 49 percent (Critics), 52 percent (Audience)
Everything about San Andreas is meant to induce an awe-inspiring spectacle, but the execution of the 2015 movie’s plot leaves a little to be desired. Nevertheless, it feels pretty minor and ultimately more forgettable than many other movies on this list.
Rotten Tomatoes: 48 percent (Critics), 69 percent (Audience)
2018’s Skyscraper is an inspired combination of Die Hard and Towering Inferno that plays out exactly as you’d imagine. But just because we know how it’ll all unfold doesn’t make it any less entertaining. The film is the best execution of Johnson’s everyman persona; he turns in a decidedly authentic and humanistic performance even if all the CGI around him threatens to betray that portrayal.
25. 'Jungle Cruise'
Rotten Tomatoes: 62 percent (Critics), 92 percent (Audience)
I wish Jungle Cruise were better than it turned out to be, as the decision to cast Johnson as a swashbuckling adventurer and pair him with Emily Blunt sounded terrific on paper. Sadly, the narrative execution falls short, burdened with an overlong and too-familiar adventure style story, even with the fantastic chemistry between the two leads. Perhaps the forthcoming sequel can steer the ship in the right direction.
23. 'Jumanji: The Next Level'
Rotten Tomatoes: 71 percent (Critics), 87 percent (Audience)
Having Johnson basically do a Danny DeVito impression for the entirety of a movie sounds great on paper. Still, the execution of Jumanji: The Next Level’s central hook flounders a bit as it suffers from being a little too much of the same. Regardless, the franchise’s third installment flourishes thanks to the continued dynamics of its ensemble cast and its fun, fast-paced action.
21. 'Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw'
Rotten Tomatoes: 67 percent (Critics), 88 percent (Audience)
It made sense for the first spinoff of the Fast and Furious franchise to involve both Johnson’s Agent Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw, as both stars are more than capable of anchoring a movie on their own. Putting them together made absolute sense, and the majority of Hobbs & Shaw thrives off the chemistry between the two. While the film falls into some well-worn and derivative plots, the buoyancy of the movie’s two leads helps to keep things moving along.
19. 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle'
Rotten Tomatoes: 76 percent (Critics), 87 percent (Audience)
In an inspired subversion of his persona, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle casts Johnson as a nerd having to come to terms with the fact he’s actually a hero. While fun, most of the comedy comes from the driving force of the dynamic between Kevin Hart and Johnson, which isn’t dissimilar from what audiences saw in Central Intelligence, but the movie’s placement on this list is due to the overall chemistry between the ensemble cast and a savvy hook to reboot and breathe new life into franchise IP.
Rotten Tomatoes: 51 percent (Critics), 72 percent (Audience)
As a noted fan of when a movie pits giant monsters against one another, Rampage is right up my alley. The video-game-to-movie adaptation is full of plenty of self-aware shenanigans, down to the fact the plot is absolutely secondary, only existing to string together the massive action set pieces the movie so gloriously indulges in throughout its run time. As a result, everything about Rampage is big, bold, and silly—which always makes for a good time.
15. 'Central Intelligence'
Rotten Tomatoes: 71 percent (Critics), 62 percent (Audience)
Of the many joys in Central Intelligence, many come from the execution of its otherwise simple premise. Kevin Hart and Johnson leverage their megawatt star power and turn in another fun play on the buddy comedy, albeit one that’s not afraid to wear its (Kevin) heart on its sleeve. Infused with action and laughs aplenty, the duo manages to channel the spirit of beloved cinematic comedic twosomes while having something more intelligent to say about old age and how we look back on our perceived glory days. Oh, and did I mention it’s just a blast to watch?
13. 'Southland Tales'
Rotten Tomatoes: 40 percent (Critics), 41 percent (Audience)
Southland Tales was a tremendous bomb upon release but has seen a significant reappraisal in recent years—mostly due to Trump’s presidency. At the center of it all is Johnson playing a role so incredibly against type it feels like the last time he’d do something this truly daring (although Pain & Gain flirts with some of the material). Perhaps the overall failure of Tales inspired Johnson to move toward projects he had more direct control in, but we wish he’d take a swing this bold again.
11. 'Pain & Gain'
Rotten Tomatoes: 50 percent (Critics), 47 percent (Audience)
In what very well might be Michael Bay’s best movie that’s NOT Bad Boys II, Pain & Gain is one of the few times in which the storied director seems to be in on the joke instead of being the butt of one. Based on a true-crime case chronicled by Miami New Times journalist Pete Collins, the film stars Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, and Anthony Mackie as a trio of roided-up and coked-out bros who decide to kidnap a wealthy client and force him to give up his riches. Johnson plays up his larger-than-life persona as Bay willingly and gleefully satirizes it, resulting in a movie that’s surprisingly full of depth—especially for Hollywood’s most well-known Baron of Boom.
9. 'Fighting With My Family'
Rotten Tomatoes: 93 percent (Critics), 86 percent (Audience)
Johnson’s appearance in the Florence Pugh-led Fighting With My Family doesn’t amount to much more than an extended cameo, but the limited amount of screentime he does have goes a long way in making an impact. We should also credit Johnson’s producing prowess here, as he helped to provide a pivotal rung for Pugh’s meteoric rise to stardom.
7. 'The Rundown'
Rotten Tomatoes: 69 percent (Critics), 66 percent (Audience)
It’s funny that Red Notice inspired this list because if Peter Berg’s The Rundown were to be made today, it’s the kind of mid-tier action movie that Netflix would distribute. Nevertheless, the 2003 action comedy serves as an inciting look at where Johnson’s career would eventually go. As a bounty hunter sent to Brazil to retrieve Seann William Scott, Johnson makes for a fantastic lead, effortlessly channeling the spirit of mismatched buddy comedies like Midnight Run. Sure, the movie doesn’t break any new ground, but not every action movie needs to break the wheel to be a good time.
5. 'Fast Five'
Rotten Tomatoes: 77 percent (Critics), 83 percent (Audience)
A shifting focus for the fifth installment of The Fast and Furious franchise helped reinvigorate the franchise and propelled—like a shot of nitrous oxide—the series to bold new heights. The other critical component was the addition of Johnson’s Agent Hobbs; the pitch-perfect casting provided quite a foil for Vin Diesel to act against and managed to snag the actor as his action career began its rampant ascendancy. Fast Five and Johnson are inextricably linked; it’s almost impossible to tell if one would work without the other.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95 percent (Critics), 89 percent (Audience)
Dwayne Johnson is a shrewd businessman, constantly thinking about how to further his own personal brand. It’s not entirely unsurprising then that his savviest move—partnering with Disney and Lin Manuel-Miranda—resulted in a smashing success. Moana proved Johnson could carry a movie without leveraging his physical persona, instead deciding to lean into his natural charisma and talents as a performer while also actively subverting much of the persona he’s cultivated for himself over time. It’s a larger-than-life role, one that feels like the culmination of his entire professional career.