As 2022 ends, it is really hard to say that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has experienced a more influential year in his performing job, even if that affect was his extended-in-the-creating Black Adam motion picture just about singlehandedly tearing aside the DC cinema slate for many years. But was it his yr as an actor? Unquestionably not, for the reason that that is, was, and for good will be, 2000.
Because that’s when “Tsunkatse,” the 15th episode of Star Trek: Voyager’s penultimate sixth period aired, marking the debut of Johnson’s acting vocation prior to he would certainly explode on to the scene a yr later on in The Mummy Returns. Born of an absurd notion for broadcaster UPN to cross over two of its biggest shows—Voyager and WWF nee WWE Smackdown—Johnson performs a main role in the episode as the Pendari Winner, a hulking combatant in the melee bloodsport Tsunkatse that goes toe-to-toe with a captured Seven of 9.
It is deeply foolish, if only mainly because for Star Trek supporters The Rock is perhaps only the 3rd most noteworthy guest star—Deep Space 9 legends J.G. Hertzler and Jeffrey Combs, ideal acknowledged for actively playing Typical Martok and Weyoun (between many other roles!) respectively, on Voyager’s predecessor have visitor turns way too. Hertzler performs a fellow combatant in the ring of this wildly well known deathmatch, a Hirogen—a race of Predator-esque hunters Voyager experienced formerly encountered—who trains the captive 7 in the arts of Tsunkatse so she can survive very long adequate to be rescued by the crew, when Combs dazzles as Penk, the slimy overlord of the Tsunkatse tournaments that captured 7 as his new best warrior.
But we’re to assume delight from Star Trek legends like these stars. The Rock, for Star Trek and for the environment at huge beyond his change as one of the most legendary wrestlers of his age, was an untested, unproven performing chameleon, at this point just commencing out a journey that would lead to box business dominance and, well, Johnson just variety of participating in a heightened approximation of himself throughout a sea of action motion pictures. From time to time, that is all you have to have, and it’s all perfectly and very good, but outdoors of a couple unique roles, it’s hard to specially argue that Johnson has forged an performing profession for himself that worries him dramatically, as an alternative largely tough him by how a lot of stunts he can do, how lots of limited button up shirts he can suit his giant arms into the rolled sleeves of, how quite a few periods he can blur the line amongst the character he’s meant to be participating in and the persona of the Rock in the audience’s head.
The Pendari Champion is the predecessor to what Johnson’s vocation would come to be pretty much and and spiritually, due to the fact they are virtually just the Rock with some Star Trek alien forehead make-up utilized. Perhaps then, it is the best sort of Johnson’s extremely certain niche. The strategy at its purest, when the Rock becoming the Rock, But Askance, was a novel factor. You could even say that Johnson has invested almost two and a 50 % 10 years very long performing occupation chasing the exact significant as “Tsunkatse,” but finds himself not able replicate the joy of the to start with time he could switch the Rock into a trans-medium overall performance.
All the things that Dwayne Johnson is—at the top of his wrestling career then, at the top of his acting a single now—is in the Pendari Winner. The taciturn mother nature, breaking at any time so a bit for a trademark People’s Eyebrow. The canonization of the Rock Bottom as the second best act of martial overcome in Star Trek, just driving the double-fisted punch. The point that he scarcely has dialogue, the reality that his costume experienced to have a really cheap harness place in so he actually looked somewhat different than he does on any common episode of Smackdown. It is the embrace of Johnson fully into a bizarro Star Trek plot about hoping to escape a hazardous alien battle club: he is there to be Johnson, and nevertheless not Johnson. Is Dwayne Johnson the Pendari Champion, or is the Rock the Pendari Winner?
We have Star Trek: Voyager to thank for this timeless query, the humble, preposterous episode of tv that released the only career able of tanking an complete superhero film universe in 1 go. At the very least 7 of 9 survived a Rock Base the DCEU couldn’t.
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