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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Aug 19: The Rock


Aug 19: The Rock

"A renegade general and his group of U.S. Marines take over Alcatraz and threaten San Francisco Bay with biological weapons. A chemical weapons specialist and the only man to have ever escaped from the Rock attempt to prevent chaos."
Directed by: Michael Bay, Rated: R, 136 minutes

Well before the Transformers movies, Michael Bay made a couple of decent action flicks. Sure, all of them were over-the-top, riddled with stupid humor, and have more holes in the plots than a Swiss cheese donut, but they're still pretty damn entertaining. After following the success of Bad Boys, Bay made The Rock, a Nicolas Cage vehicle with a little Sean Connery thrown into the mix. The movie isn't awful, by any means, but it's extremely dated and has plenty of flaws the biggest being that Cage plays a chemical biologist, a career the man has never had his name attached to before this film. 

Cage and his balls.

The Rock follows General Francis X. Hummel (Ed Harris), a retired military hero who has taken control of the island of Alcatraz in an attempt to scare the government into giving dead soldiers proper burials and their families compensation. The man clearly has good motives but his plan, launching a deadly chemical into the heart of San Francisco, turns the man into a terrorist. A special forces team of Navy Seals is enlisted by the FBI to infiltrate Alcatraz with the mission of stopping Hummel and his men. Of course, being a bloated action movie and all, Stanley Goodspeed (Cage) enters the picture as the man that has to come along because he's an expert concerning the chemical, even though he has absolutely no field experience. If you think about it, this a lot like what would have happened had Seal Team Six (who took out Osama) had a man tag along with them who's only experience with the mission was the fact he visited Pakistan when he was 12. Of course Cage and the ELITE NAVY SEALS can't do the mission on their own and have to enlist the help of John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery), the only man to have successfully escaped the rock in its entire history. And yes, what you're thinking is true. The U.S government (at the stake of national security) figure that the best way back into a place is to hire the man who broke out of it. Genius idea, government. Bravo.

Oh, that's right. It's mother f**king Sean Connery you hire. My apologies. 

While I didn't love The Rock as much as I did after previous viewings, it's still pretty good. However, my biggest complaint with the film is its lengths. Michael Bay has a habit of making "big ol' blockbusters" nearly two and a half hours and in doing so, really makes the movies drag on. The Rock is no exception and a large chunk of the movie feels like it was just thrown in for length and not substance (surprise!), especially toward the beginning when so called "character development" was thrown in to give more depth to the film. And for some reason, the US government found it be a genius idea to bring in an over-the-top flamboyant stylist into the mix to fix Connery's ragged look and long hair. Bay loves throwing in these little stupidities and at this point in my movie-watching "career", I can't really ignore them like I used to. Besides that, however, Cage and Connery are both good in their roles as they really just f**k about, doing whatever the hell they want. The Rock is a good reminder that Cage used to be able to carry an action flick as opposed to the crap he churns out every 15 minutes these days. The Rock also features some great special effects and chase sequences that use practical effects, as opposed to the constant CGI that now gives Bay constant hard-ons. This is one of the film's biggest strengths and a nice reminder of how movies used to be made, even if it was just 15 years ago. 

Coming in 2013: The Rock II: The Rock Rocks the Rock the Musical (featuring rock and roll covers of Disney songs)

I would definitely recommend The Rock as a mindless action movie to watch on a rainy day (by now, many of my recommendations are for rainy days so we can only pray for another 'Great Flood'). It's a great film to watch with your dad or even your son on a weekend when you're too lazy to do stuff around the house or you just feel like doing nothing. Keep in mind, it is a Michael Bay film and is far from a masterpiece, but it's enjoyable enough to recommend. It's also one of Connery's last films before he got pissed off at the world and retired from acting so seeing him hangout with Cage is quite the treat even if the characters they play are more than shallow. Watch it, enjoy it, and move on. Oh, and Ed Harris is f**king incredible. 

The Good:
solid action throughout the film with a nice chase sequence and plenty of explosions (all done with mostly real effects)
The Bad:
not enough of that action as there is way too much fluff stuffed inside the action bag
The Cage:
tame at times, neurotic when needed

Overall: 7.1/10
Three and a Half Cages out of Five

Got to love the voice-over

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At August 20, 2012 at 2:21 AM , Blogger Mavi said...

Yeah I wont watch this again, nor will I watch Con Air because I loved them in the 90's but that is probably where they should stay....

At August 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Con Air is next time around. I'm afraid to re-watch it but I know I love it... It couldn't have changed THAT much lol

At August 20, 2012 at 6:19 PM , Anonymous Tippi said...

THIS IS MY FAVORITE. MOVIE. EVER. Well not really but it's up there.

It's so deliciously quotable. "Don't you think there's a lotta angst floating around this island, a lot of 'I'm 16 and angry at my father' syndrome? I mean GROW UP! We're stuck on an island with a bunch of violence-for-pleasure seeking psychopathic marines. SHAME. ON. THEM." <3<3<3<3<3 so. good.

At August 20, 2012 at 6:20 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Whoa now. Whoa. Whoa.

It's not a bad movie and does have some great lines, but I really don't think it's aged as well as one would hope.

So many <3s lol


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