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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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