All the times The Rock should have died on film, graded by a military survival expert

Contributed by
Apr 16, 2018

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hasn't yet played a superhero, but he's definitely treated like a superhuman in his movies. With enough tricep flesh to fill an entire Gold's Gym, shoulders that could legally be considered mountain ranges, and a truly insane level of innate charisma, Dwayne Johnson is literally double the human that any of his co-stars are. That said, he's still technically a human, so even though he's Earth's best bet when it comes to surviving a robot/alien apocalypse, his characters still shouldn't be able to shrug off all the damage that they take over the course of his films. 

And to find out how exactly all of those explosions and beatdowns would really affect The Rock, we turned to Cristian Ramirez, formerly of Cracked.com and also formerly of the United States Army Infantry. He has a pretty good grasp on that kind of thing, so we put him to the task of finding out which action scenes would've turned The Rock into a pile of lean hamburger meat.

Hercules Wolf Attack

So, Hercules has been captured. You know where this is going. Dwayne shouts "I AM HERCULEEEEES," as one does, and pulls his chains out of the ground, also as one does. Then he gets attacked by three giant wolves, which probably happens every hour to Hercules, and is also just an average Tuesday for The Rock. Obviously, he shrugs this off and gets back to the climax of the movie pretty quickly, mainly because it would be a huge buzzkill for The Rock to triumphantly shout "I AM HERCULEEEES," only to follow it up with "NOOOOOOO! WOOOLVES!"

What would actually happen:

Cristian: The Rock is obviously a pretty big dude, which would serve to help him in this instance. The wolves that attack his shoulder and forearm have some serious Rock muscle to bite into before they'd be able to get to any major arteries. However, there is a spot he gets bitten that doesn't have that sweet sexy beef protecting it: his ankle.

Most of the bones and tendons in the ankle aren't protected by muscles, and given the way he was bitten, he would not be walking, much less jogging to open his friends' cages. And unfortunately, even if the Rockules was able to find a good rehab center, all those open wounds would probably have led to some bulls*** Khal Drogo death from an infection. Prehistoric Greece didn't exactly have a ton of Penicillin lying around.

Furious 7's Explosion n' Jason Statham Attack

Here, The Rock tackles Jason Statham, because Hollywood solely exists to settle "Who would win?" barroom debates. After they beat each other up and throw each other through multiple pieces of glass, The Rock gets blown out of a window and lands on the top of a car with someone else on top of him. For this, The Rock gets a cast on his arm, a cast that he later literally flexes his way out of when he needs to join the final action scene of the movie. We're going to only focus on that first part though, as I'm sure that the cast part is scientifically accurate. Honestly, I don't even think that doctors can make casts that big, anyway.

What would actually happen:

Cristian: OK, first off, glass is not that easy to break. In fact, it's designed not to break. And even when you actively plan to break through glass, you'll occasionally get a stubborn pane of glass that just doesn't want to. For example, during the WWE King of the Ring 2001 match in which Kurt Angle met a few particularly headstrong pieces of glass and had his back turned into a charcuterie plate. 


Also, despite the fact that The Rock's body is significantly less squishy than that of most human's, that concussive blast still would've hurt most of his squishy bits, namely the ones most vulnerable to injury like the eardrums, eyeballs, and respiratory, digestive, and circulatory systems. Then there's a bunch of flying items and shrapnel to deal with. AND THEN there are the tertiary effects, which happen when a person is propelled by the blast into other objects which result in lots of blunt force, or lacerating injuries.

AND FINALLY there are the quaternary injuries that include burns (obviously a problem considering the fireball), crushing (a lady landed on top of him), closed and open brain injury, asphyxia, and toxic exposures. So we can pretty safely assume that when Fast Rock got crushed, he'd probably at least be temporarily blind, deaf, burned, bleeding, full of shrapnel and with a great big, Rock-sized deuce in his pants.

San Andreas: The Rock Fights A Tsunami

While The Rock usually has to contend with the evil of man, in San Andreas he had to battle the wild unpredictability of nature. Nature put up a good fight, throwing tsunamis and earthquakes at The Rock, and at one point, forcing The Rock to go underwater for what feels like forever. But The Rock refused to fall and so nature gave up. That's the moral of San Andreas: Biceps - 1, Nature - 0.

What would actually happen:

Cristian: The Rock only holds his breath for about 1:10, and the world record for distance on one breath is 177 m and takes about three minutes 10 seconds. Also, the record holder was wearing fins, and while that's still two minutes more than The Rock, with all of Dwayne's physical exertion, he probably would be maxing out what someone his size is potentially capable of. And he'd definitely be right on the edge of blacking out, so he'd need a couple seconds at least to catch his breath before he goes back to punching tornadoes or whatever.

The Rundown BONUS ROUND

In the climax of The Rundown, The Rock takes down a big group of henchmen with a double set of shotguns, which he pumps using his hands, armpits, biceps and various things that he finds lying around. Then, he casually walks away from an explosion, which only leaves his shirt rippling.

What would actually happen:

Cristian: This is something I've actually tried, and as long as the shotgun is properly lubricated, and the action isn't too stiff, you can totally do the armpit and bicep pumps if you're strong enough. Not so much for the one off the foot, because you can't get enough grip/friction there.

One of the biggest issues I have with this scene, though, is that unless those shotguns are filled with slugs (they appear to be filled with buckshot), the accuracy of attempting to shoot a spread weapon one-handed would be abysmal. The normal effective range is about a max of 70 yards, and that's when the weapon is handled by the best shooter with two hands. He would likely just straight up miss almost all of the guys that are farther than like 20 yards when he's shooting one-handed. And as with the explosion in Furious Seven, he'd likely still get all those primary injuries, as well as some shrapnel because it was a two-ton truck exploding.

The Rock's Skyscraper Jump

This movie hasn't come out yet, but from the looks of the trailer, The Rock loses his foot while he's in the FBI, takes the job as a security specialist in the tallest building in the universe, and then has to save his family from terrorists when that building is attacked. And the trailer ends with The Rock in midair, jumping at the skyscraper. All trailers should end this way, regardless of the movie's actual plot or context.

What would actually happen:

Cristian: This one is the wildest so far, as the longest Olympic long jump ever was 8.9 meters, or almost 30 feet. That building is easily 40 feet away, which means he has to travel an extra 10 feet through the air while falling. Also, he'd be hitting the glass at like a 75-degree angle. With gravity being the greatest force acting on him at that point, he'll likely tumble along the side of the building to his death. Unless this is all a dream sequence, of course, and it turns out that, aww, The Rock was the skyscraper the whole time. The only true Skyscraper is the one... in your heart.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation's Huge Bullets

First of all, kudos on the makers of G.I. Joe Retaliation for recognizing what a big dude Ray Stevenson is. I know he played The Punisher, but every Ray Stevenson movie should include a scene where he basically pulls apart a human with his bare hands. Ray and The Rock are constant enemies in this movie, and their rivalry culminates in a boats n' bullets n' beatdowns battle, and Ray getting exploded.

What would actually happen:

Cristian: Ok, Ray Stevenson would've been swiss cheese after that first volley of .50 cal bullets, as they look like this when compared to an AR-15 round:


That means you're dead after one, and certainly not doing a damn tumbling routine off your motorcycle. Then RoadRock completely destroys Ray's boat with another volley of .50 cal, so again, a nice, pulpy Stevenson mist. I don't have a problem with the handgun stuff, as they are quite inaccurate, but those are tiny explosions going off right in their faces, and next to their ears. So they'd both be deaf, and probably concussed after their first little spat of gunkata.

The RAMPAGE Injury Medley

The tagline for Rampage is "BIG MEETS BIGGER," so it's nice to see filmmakers begin to acknowledge that Dwayne Johnson is a literal Godzilla. Not to spoil anything, but the movie ends with The Rock taking on three different monsters: a giant ape, a giant wolf, and a giant alligator. And he actually takes about as much damage as the huge creatures do when he goes down in an airplane, gets shot in the lower abdomen, passes out, wakes back up, survives a helicopter crash, and then falls about three-and-a-half stories.

Side note: I'm glad that a movie in 2018 concludes with an Ape vs Reptile fight, considering that we're getting Kong vs Godzilla in 2020. This is a message to you, Kong vs Godzilla and Legendary Pictures: Better bring your A-Game.

What would actually happen:

Cristian: Green Berets and SEALs do HALO jumps, which are the highest altitude starting, lowest altitude opening kind of jumps, and at the very lowest, they'll deploy parachutes at about 600 meters. Anything less, and your chute probably won't have a chance to fully deploy, especially for someone as big as The Rock. The decompression isn't a big deal because as long as you're still in the atmosphere, you're not in a ton of danger of decompression sickness.

The worst part, though, is that gunshot. The abdomen is a really bad place to get shot, as there are so many nerve endings in your intestines. Adding a 35-ish-foot fall on top of that means you'll probably be in too much pain to move and/or help your mega gorilla buddy.