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Face-Off: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson vs. Mark Wahlberg

07.24.2014by: Dave Davis
Last week's Face-Off column put the two big-screen incarnations of comic character Judge Dredd against each other, and most of you agreed that 2012's DREDD with Karl Urban served a death sentence to the 1995 Stallone-starring JUDGE DREDD.

This weekend features brawny action star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the mythical legend HERCULES. How does Johnson measure up against fellow muscular A-lister Mark Wahlberg?

(Please note: Face Off is an opinion column. We're not using any actual science to prove or disprove anything. It's just for fun.)
FRANCHISE
Johnson decided to chase down Vin Diesel and the dangerous drivers of FAST FIVE, and then joined forces with them in FAST & FURIOUS 6. He'll be back to help them fight Jason Statham in FAST & FURIOUS 7.

In addition to that blockbuster vehicular series, Johnson stepped in as Roadblock to battle COBRA in the sequel G.I. JOE: RETALIATION and is expected back for more cartoonish warfare in the third entry. He also showed up as a (mostly CGI) man-scorpion in THE MUMMY RETURNS and then played the more righteous warrior in the prequel THE SCORPION KING, appeared in the unfortunate GET SHORTY sequel BE COOL, and replaced Brendan Fraser with his pecs in JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND.

Oh, and we'll also see him in the next few years as a major comic character in DC's cinematic universe.
While Shia LaBeouf was apparently preoccupied in another reality, Wahlberg became the human face of the war between Autobots and Decepticons in TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.

Although he'll be back for more of Michael Bay's ear-splitting robo-brawling, he otherwise has yet to appear in an existing series (although the success of TED may have launched a new one).
BAD BEHAVIOR
After gaining attention as a "heel" in the WWE, Johnson menaced Brendan Fraser in THE MUMMY RETURNS, became infected by a space virus and duked it out with Karl Urban in DOOM, turned against Agent 86 and CONTROL in GET SMART, went on a vengeance-fueled rampage in FASTER, and joined Wahlberg for violence and extortion in PAIN & GAIN.
Wahlberg has only been an outright villain once (in the thriller FEAR), but has operated on the wrong side of the law on numerous occasions -- THE ITALIAN JOB, THE BIG HIT, FOUR BROTHERS, CONTRABAND and PAIN & GAIN have all seen him engaging in felonious acts.
GAME GUY
Johnson's Sarge scooped up the BFG to battle demons  infected creatures on Mars in the forgettable big-screen version of the classic id shooter DOOM
Wahlberg grabbed two pistols and a leather jacket to play the title character in the video game adaptation of MAX PAYNE, which had Mila Kunis and some decent production design but not much else
COMEDY MUSCLE
The Rock's electrifying personality and seemingly bottomless supply of amusing catchphrases got him the spotlight while in the WWE, and he put his affable humor to use (with varying degrees of success) in BE COOL, RENO 911!: MIAMI, THE GAME PLAN, GET SMART, TOOTH FAIRY, and (with Wahlberg) in THE OTHER GUYS and PAIN & GAIN, plus a few memorable SNL appearances
Wahlberg's delivery is most comical when he's playing the eager (and occasionally dim) straight man, as in TED, THE OTHER GUYS, I HEART HUCKABEES, ROCK STAR, DATE NIGHT, PAIN & GAIN and 2 GUNS... although his Oscar-nominated performance in THE DEPARTED actually has some of his most hilarious dialogue.

Note that THE HAPPENING does not count as intentional comedy.
ACTUAL MUSCLE
Johnson clearly deserves the nickname he selected -- the guy is literally a solid mountain. He added plenty of mass early on so that he could toss wrestling opponents around the ring, and still remains as huge as ever.
Wahlberg's impressive physique helped thrust him towards fame -- his shirtless appearances as "Marky Mark" led to Calvin Klein underwear modeling, putting his face (and abs) on omnipresent billboards. Small movie roles followed soon after, and now he's one of the biggest actors in the business. Just not as physically big as The Rock.
GETTING SERIOUS
When Johnson put away the guns for more serious roles, we got GRIDIRON GANG, SOUTHLAND TALES and SNITCH
Wahlberg got dramatic almost right out of the gate with THE BASKETBALL DIARIES and his breakthrough BOOGIE NIGHTS, which remains one of his best performances. Aligning himself with acclaimed filmmakers has proven successful (THE FIGHTER, THREE KINGS, THE DEPARTED), although not always (THE LOVELY BONES)
MAN OF ACTION
Johnson has flexed his muscles (including trigger finger) in THE SCORPION KING, THE RUNDOWN, WALKING TALL, DOOM, FASTER, FAST FIVE, FAST & FURIOUS 6 and G.I. JOE: RETALIATION
Wahlberg has a solid record dishing out punishment in THE BIG HIT, THREE KINGS, PLANET OF THE APES, FOUR BROTHERS, MAX PAYNE, SHOOTER, THE FIGHTER, 2 GUNS, LONE SURVIVOR and TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
BOX OFFICE
$3.5 billion worldwide
$4.4 billion worldwide
IT'S A TIE!
Though neither came from a traditional acting background, currently these two beefy, likeable guys are probably our most reliable A-list action stars, but there's more than that to each of them. They both pack a punch and know how to handle weaponry of all sizes, but also have a fair amount of range beyond gunfights and high-speed chases.You may prefer one over the other based on personality or particular roles, but they're close enough for me. (Coincidentally, both actors have been thrown down steep hills by director Peter Berg).

Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

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10:56AM on 07/25/2014

marky mark and the funky bunch.

as far as career length and depth, marky mark should've smoked the rock, but i agree with the final tally.
as far as career length and depth, marky mark should've smoked the rock, but i agree with the final tally.
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7:02PM on 07/24/2014

Not really a fan of either but...

Dwayne is the clear winner. He has charisma to spare whereas Mark has the charisma and acting ability of a wet towel. No way a tie.
Dwayne is the clear winner. He has charisma to spare whereas Mark has the charisma and acting ability of a wet towel. No way a tie.
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+1
6:17PM on 07/24/2014

Dwayne.

My movie averages are 4.7 for Mark and 3.9 for Dwayne. However, Dwayne has proved to be a better actor. His dramatic and/or comedic skills have saved or almost saved all of his movies. Some of Mark's dramatic performances are quite good but he doesn't have much range. And he's only good in comedies when he's making fun of his tough persona.
My movie averages are 4.7 for Mark and 3.9 for Dwayne. However, Dwayne has proved to be a better actor. His dramatic and/or comedic skills have saved or almost saved all of his movies. Some of Mark's dramatic performances are quite good but he doesn't have much range. And he's only good in comedies when he's making fun of his tough persona.
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3:59PM on 07/24/2014

Wahlberg

I would like to start this by saying that Dwayne Johnson is one of my very favorite actors on his way to the top. He is a great actor and seems like a good guy. And I can really get tired of some of the movies that Wahlberg comes out with. Its like for every good role that he takes, he is going to make 2 movies that are mindless shit. BUT, Marky Mark has a bigger resume of films than Johnson, and some of them have been really great roles (The Departed, Basketball Diaries, Three Kings, Ted),
I would like to start this by saying that Dwayne Johnson is one of my very favorite actors on his way to the top. He is a great actor and seems like a good guy. And I can really get tired of some of the movies that Wahlberg comes out with. Its like for every good role that he takes, he is going to make 2 movies that are mindless shit. BUT, Marky Mark has a bigger resume of films than Johnson, and some of them have been really great roles (The Departed, Basketball Diaries, Three Kings, Ted), whereas Johnson just doesn't have those..... YET. I expect big things from The Rock in the future!
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3:22PM on 07/24/2014
They're both utterly wank. Hollywood's an a real state when fuckers like these are two of its biggest stars.
They're both utterly wank. Hollywood's an a real state when fuckers like these are two of its biggest stars.
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5:58AM on 07/25/2014
If there was any justice in the world, their acting talent would damn them to direct-to-video hell along with the likes of Steven Seagal, Vinnie Jones and Luke Goss. That's all their movies are anyway: DTV on an obscene budget.
If there was any justice in the world, their acting talent would damn them to direct-to-video hell along with the likes of Steven Seagal, Vinnie Jones and Luke Goss. That's all their movies are anyway: DTV on an obscene budget.
3:54PM on 07/24/2014
Not everyone is supposed to be Daniel Day-Lewis. And both of these guys, particularly The Rock for me, have this charisma that separates them from the pack. It also does not hurt that they cater perfectly to their audience and their skill set. So am I surprised or upset that these two people are super stars? No, because when I want a mindless above average action film, I can throw one of their films on. Well, minus a few of their stinkers of course.
Not everyone is supposed to be Daniel Day-Lewis. And both of these guys, particularly The Rock for me, have this charisma that separates them from the pack. It also does not hurt that they cater perfectly to their audience and their skill set. So am I surprised or upset that these two people are super stars? No, because when I want a mindless above average action film, I can throw one of their films on. Well, minus a few of their stinkers of course.
2:33PM on 07/24/2014

Wahlberg all the way.

I'm actually super pumped to see The Rock play Hercules but I haven't ever really loved him in everything. Wahlberg has done ton's of stuff I've loved and while both video game films are two of the worst movies ever made Wahlberg's just a better actor and more believable badass. I'll take a lot of his movies over anything Johnson's done up until now.
I'm actually super pumped to see The Rock play Hercules but I haven't ever really loved him in everything. Wahlberg has done ton's of stuff I've loved and while both video game films are two of the worst movies ever made Wahlberg's just a better actor and more believable badass. I'll take a lot of his movies over anything Johnson's done up until now.
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+1
2:09PM on 07/24/2014
Wahlberg. He can do action, drama, and comedy. Johnson cannot do drama. Plus, Wahlberg 's Dirk Diggler is one the greatest movie characters ever.
Wahlberg. He can do action, drama, and comedy. Johnson cannot do drama. Plus, Wahlberg 's Dirk Diggler is one the greatest movie characters ever.
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2:03PM on 07/24/2014

I'm going against my instincts on this one

I prefer Dwayne Johnson, but Mark Wahlberg's work in THE DEPARTED and BOOGIE NIGHTS breaks the tie, IMO.
I prefer Dwayne Johnson, but Mark Wahlberg's work in THE DEPARTED and BOOGIE NIGHTS breaks the tie, IMO.
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+3
1:30PM on 07/24/2014
The Rock all the way!!!

"The Rock is a tourist attraction???"
The Rock all the way!!!

"The Rock is a tourist attraction???"
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1:19PM on 07/24/2014
I hate ties. Just pick one!
I hate ties. Just pick one!
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12:38PM on 07/24/2014

Mark Wahlberg

Even though I think Dwayne Johnson has become a really good actor over the years, in my opinion Wahlberg wins this matchup for me because I think he's the overall better actor.
Even though I think Dwayne Johnson has become a really good actor over the years, in my opinion Wahlberg wins this matchup for me because I think he's the overall better actor.
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12:33PM on 07/24/2014
For once, I agree that it's a tie. Both actors are nice lead for the movie. The Rock might have the muscle but Mark Wahlberg is agile enough to fight with Galvatron - he keeps rolling around and jumping around.
For once, I agree that it's a tie. Both actors are nice lead for the movie. The Rock might have the muscle but Mark Wahlberg is agile enough to fight with Galvatron - he keeps rolling around and jumping around.
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