Dwayne Johnson, you owe me $18.  Race to Witch Mountain is such a God-awful remake devoid of any kind of character or humanity, I suspect that director Andy Fickman probably spent most of his time asleep in his director’s chair.  Holy shit, where do I begin?

First off, I read the original novel by Alexander Key, so I am probably biased toward the original story.  But I have to say, even that wasn’t all that good to begin with.  And it’s not like I’m bitching that Disney ruined it by turning it into a movie.  It’s just that nothing much makes sense in the movie.

Okay, spoiler warning, but trust me, read this.  I’m doing you a favor.  The Rock plays Jack Bruno, a down and out thug, turned cab driver.  Fickman or possibly the screenwriters, Matt Lopez and Mark Bomback, squander what little time they give themselves for character development.  Bruno has a crummy life.  He’s annoyed by the nerds who have come to Las Vegas for the UFO convention and he lives in a crappy hotel room where all he does is punch a bag and stare at his poster for the movie Bullitt.   Bullitt, of course, is so far above this cinematic turd, one wonders if the makers actually saw it or merely copped the idea because they thought the car looked cool in Deathproof.

Jack is being harrassed by two BIGGER thugs and a mob boss called “Mr. Wolf”.  (Not that you will ever get to see or hear that character.)  Apparently, Jack’s gone straight and doesn’t want to work for the gangster anymore, but the thugs harrass him anyway EVEN THOUGH JACK DOESN’T OWE MR. WOLF ANY MONEY.  Retarded.  What kind of gangster harrasses thugs and has them beaten up just because they won’t work for him?  But the first of many timely interventions saves Jack and he is able to get away.  Of course, the thugs threaten to kill him, but that doesn’t seem to worry Jack.  Oh, no, they’ll be car chase a-plenty to distract you from any kind of logic.

Suddenly, Jack has two weird kids in his cab with lots of money.  They need to get “somewhere”.  Seth and Sarah are weird because they call Jack “Jack Bruno” instead of just Jack and speak in hackneyed alien-speak that would make the writers of the Coneheads blush.  The kids are being pursued by our evil government, represented by Agent Burke and his hapless henchmen and unlimited Homeland Security budget.  Burke has lots of guns, but never tells his guys to just shoot Jack and end this nightmare.

Jack eludes Burke and his goons with the help of the kids’ superpowers.  Which leads you to ask, if the kids have superpowers, why do they need Jack?  Why don’t they just steal a car?  Jack delivers them to an old cabin and gets paid a 500% tip.  Now the kids try to give him the money at least twice.  It’s clear they don’t care about the money and it’s established that the aliens, for some unknown reason, stole the money from an ATM.  Jack has no reason not to take the money, especially after his cab has been wrecked and the kids lead him out in the desert.  But Jack suddenly decides he’s gotten too much loot, EVEN THOUGH IT’S CLEAR TO ANYONE WATCHING THEY GAVE HIM TOO MUCH MONEY WHEN THEY GOT OUT OF THE CAR!  Ahhh!  (This movie makes me mad.)

Jack gets out of the car, hears a noise and runs to the kids’ rescue.  Seth clearly doesn’t want Jack around.  They know someone or something is pursuing them.  Seth says he doesn’t trust Jack.  So what does he do?  He opens a secret passage in the cabin to find their incredibly secret thing that they need to leave the planet.  And Jack just tails along.

They are followed by the incredibly powerful evil alien that wants to kill them, but for some reason, he has to be sneaky.  He has The Rock in his sights in the cabin in the dark, but he decides it would be better to wait and attack him out in the open in a big room inside the cabin.  While the kids get their secret thing, Jack battles the indestructible guy.  But the evil alien assassin is lame at his one thing, which is to KILL.  Instead of just shooting Jack, he throws him into a tree so he can recover and get thrown into a tree again.  Again, the kids save the day with their superpowers, so why do they need Jack?

I can’t go through any more of this suck fest.  Only I have to mention, that at the end of the movie when they get back in their ship, it works.  There is never any explanation of why the ship crashed in the first place and its clear no one repaired it.   And also, Dwayne Johnson’s acting was passable in a few movies, but here he’s completely over his head.  His takes are way off the mark and everyone around him must act twice as hard to hide it.

Instead of talking about this movie any more, let me give you a list of better movies you should rent instead:  Bullitt (of course) and some movies where aliens are running from the law:  Brother From Another Planet, The Transformers, E.T., Galaxy Quest, Cocoon, The Hidden, Men in Black, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Close Encounters and, if you love video games, Destroy All Humans I and II.  Trust me, your money is better served renting one of these.

I give Race to Witch Mountain 2 kegs out of 10, simply because the action sequences and special effects looks slick, even if the plot has holes as big as stars.  If you want your kids to stare at a bright shiny thing for 90 minutes, it’s either this or a bug zapper.