People don’t generally go to a Dwayne “maybe you can call me The Rock now that I’m wrestling again” Johnson movie for heartfelt drama, but Snitch forces the star’s fans to wade through nearly an hour of heartstring-tugging before delivering a single meager action sequence. Director and co-writer Ric Roman Waugh is a veteran stunt coordinator, but he’s more interested in inspirational melodrama and clumsy social commentary than in rousing action, and the movie takes a long time getting around to its explosive climax.
Before then, we get Johnson as upstanding family man John Matthews, whose life is thrown into turmoil when his son is arrested for drug trafficking after accepting a package of pills from a friend. Thanks to mandatory minimum sentencing (the movie’s real villain), John’s son faces 10 years in prison unless he can lead the authorities to higher-level dealers. Unwilling to accept this, John makes a rather implausible deal with the heartless U.S. attorney (Susan Sarandon, phoning it in): He’ll deliver an important drug kingpin in exchange for his son’s release.
And so the wholesome John insinuates himself into the criminal underworld, aided by a conflicted ex-con (The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal) who works for John at his construction company. The script’s moral dilemmas are thinly constructed, and Johnson isn’t particularly convincing as a powerless everyman. Waugh pulls off a pretty impressive car chase during the final showdown between John and the bad guys, but by that point it’s too little, too late.