But despite Johnson's hulking physique, the film resists the temptation to set him up as an ex-Navy Seal, police inspector or anything else remotely heroic. He plays John Matthews, a divorced construction company owner.
One day, his estranged teenage son Jason (Rafi Gavron) is arrested for drug trafficking, after allowing a friend to send him a package full of drugs. Things go from bad to worse when John finds out that, as part of the government's war on drugs, a harsh federal law sentences first-time offenders like Jason to 10 years' imprisonment.
In exchange for his son's freedom, John strikes a deal with attorney Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon) to help make a major arrest by infiltrating the drug cartel himself. Sounds pretty unconvincing, right?
But the film quickly puts any political agenda aside and turns out to be a surprisingly engaging crime thriller.
The film is a breakthrough for Johnson, who depicts a tense yet sensitive father figure, light years beyond his signature action-man.
Much like an airport-bookshop bargain, Snitch could've been easily forgettable but is in fact top-notch entertainment.