Movie Reviews

Movie Review: The Rock – Mindless Action Flick Done Right

Written by David Weisberg, Douglas S. Cook, and Mark Rosner
Directed by Michael Bay

The one thing that has really drawn me to this movie several times is the blurring of the line between villain and hero. The Bad guys in this film are not your typical baddies. They are not the absolute evil of everything on the earth. They are presented in such a way that we can sympathize with their motivations and the reason behind their actions, even if I do not agree with them.

Ed Harris portrays General Hummel, a man trying to take care of the families of men he had to leave behind during various covert operation the U.S. government does not want to admit to. Instead of simply paying off the families of these men to keep quiet, the government has treated them as criminals.

Hummel is doing what he feels is honorable. He is a decorated and revered commander. And I did feel a great deal of sympathy for the man and for the way he feels the government has treated him and his men. However, they sympathy only extends so far. When he and other former soldiers he has enlisted in the role as mercenaries steal VX gas and rockets from the government and hold up with innocent people on Alcatraz demanding that the government compensate the families of the men he lost, he has gone too far.

Enter Nicholas Cage as F.B.I. Agent Stanley Goodspeed. He knows just about everything there is to know about chemical weapons. The government wants to send him with a team into Alcatraz to disarm the weapons and rescue the hostages. Only problem is, there’s no secret way into the island fortress… or is there?

John Mason is a former British S.A.S. officer who knows so many of the U.S. Governments dirty little secrets, they’ve kept him illegally imprisoned for thirty years. Sean Connery portrays the acerbic Mason and is perfect for the part. It almost feels – at times – like I could see this scenario happening for Bond since he knew way too much. Unfortunately, the writing for most Bond films is better than what we have here, the plausibility ends fairly quickly.

These three actors are what makes the movie. All are believable in their respective roles, and casting Connery was a perfect move by the Director, Michael Bay and Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. Of course, one of the ways they enticed Connery was giving him credit as Executive Producer, so his name is in the credits there as well.

This movie is an action thriller, and it delivers in that area. The action is rapid-fire and is – at times – there just to dazzle and make me go Wow! There are great scenes of a car chase through San Francisco, as well as in a coal car underneath the fortress. Sets seem to appear with no real reason for being there, but just seem to fit in with the action sequence. There are also scenes that are upsetting, such as when the rescue team is ambushed and massacred. These scenes are why this movie is most definitely not for children.

The movie works because of the chemistry between Cage and Connery and the performance by Harris. Thy make us believe that all this could happen, even though the movie is actually a live-action cartoon similar to Bugs Bunny. The dialogue between characters is not spectacular either. Some of the lines are real groaners, while at other times the dialogue seems to have nothing to do with the current situation. Instead, the characters are saying something just to elicit an emotional response from the viewer.

Another complaint I have would be the length. Though I did not feel that the movie dragged, it was just a long movie. There are some parts that could easily have been trimmed without damaging the character development.

Suspend your disbelief and you will enjoy it. Try to make it fit into reality and you will be disappointed.

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