Saturday, January 17, 2015

Movie Review: The Rock (1996)

The Rock (1996) - USA - Action - Rated R
Directed by Michael Bay
Starring Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, John Spencer, David Morse, William Forsythe, Michael Biehn, Vanessa Marcil, John C. McGinley, Tony Todd

An adrenaline pumped adventure flick fueled with one-liners and over-the-top action is a lot of fun even if it was directed by the forgettable Michael Bay.

A group of renegade soldiers and mercenaries steal a deadly VX toxin with a mass delivery system then take over Alcatraz Island and hold the tourists hostage. The leader of this group is a marine general who has become disillusioned with the government's failure to pay benefits to families of soldiers killed in covert ops and he is threatening to launch warheads filled with the toxin against San Francisco unless the governement meets his demands.

The government contacts a biochemist with the FBI who would be able to disable the warheads, but they need somebody who knows Alcatraz well enough to get inside. As it turns out, a man did escape from Alacatraz and has been kept in a different maximum security prison since. They need him to break back into Alcatraz, even if what they offer for exchange is a lie.

The Rock, despite being over 2 hours long, does not take a moment to slow down from beginning to end. Of course there are personal moments in the film to build character development, but the movie still speeds along like a freight train out of control and does it well without derailing. It keeps tension going by having conflicts within each group, the good guys and the bad guys, with sometimes no easy way to determine exactly who is who as our protagonists have to deal with an underhanded governement agent and the antagonists have a redeemable mission, though soiled by their unforgivable terrorist plot which causes conflict among their own.

Michael Bay directs this, and despite his movies being like video games that are easily forgettable 5 minutes after they are done, The Rock does deliver and is a fun ride, even if it is forgettable about 15 minutes after it is seen. Seriously, the only thing that sticks with me about this movie is the line "Welcome to the Rock."

My Rating: 3 Fingers, which for a Michael Bay film is high for me.

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