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That headliner line is not about the film - it is one of the funnier
lines spoken by Nicholas Cage in this knockout movie. Almost twenty
year old, this film - THE ROCK - remains one of the most entertaining
and powerfully performed and produced action films in cinema history.
Re-examining It today finds it still as fresh as ever - a film that
keeps you on the edge of your seat with a solid story (David Weisberg,
Douglas Cook, and Mark Rosner) and pitch perfect direction from Michael
Bay. Yes, there are many special effects (pyrotechnics, underwater
fighting, the recreation of the bowels of Alcatraz, etc), a dialogue
that allows the intervention of comic relief in a situation that seems
impossible to find humor, and some very fine performances by a huge
cast of actors. It is an 'escape movie', both for the audience and for
Dr. Stanley Goodspeed (Nicholas Cage, in one of his better roles), who lives in Washington D.C., is a biochemist who works for the FBI. Soon after his fiancée Carla Pestalozzi (Vanessa Marcil) announces that she is pregnant, Stanley gets a call from FBI director James Womack (John Spencer). Womack tells Goodspeed that San Francisco's Alcatraz Island has been taken hostage, along with 81 tourists, by marine General Francis Xavier Hummel (Ed Harris) who, for years, has been protesting the government's refusal to pay benefits to families of war veterans who died during covert military operations. The death of his wife Barbara Hummel on March 9, 1995 drove General Hummel over the edge, and now he's holding hostages in order to get his point across. Goodspeed is needed because General Hummel has stolen some VX gas warheads and has announced that he will launch them onto San Francisco unless his demands are met. Goodspeed knows how to disarm the bombs, but he needs someone who knows Alcatraz well enough to get him inside and that someone is a former Alcatraz escapee James Patrick Mason (Sean Connery). The wise and experienced Mason and the nerdy brainy but intimidated Goodspeed make an odd couple but head to Alcatraz in an attempt to foil Hummel's terrorist scheme.
The large supportive cast is populated with such actors as David Morse, William Forsythe, Bokeem Woodbine, Danny Nucci, Claire Forlani, Jim Caviezel, John Enos III, Richard Conti, Raymond Cruz and Philip Baker Hall. It is a bit long but never fails to keep your interest. A good old-fashioned Hollywood blockbuster action flick!
A perfect symphony of cliché and stereotype that Michael Bay's been trying like hell to recreate ever since. Literally every single shot dips liberally from the well of overuse, culminating in an early car chase with a little old lady, a roving gang of bicyclists and a dozen diving pedestrians in the road, no less than five instantly-combustible parked cars and a Lamborghini that leaps through a plate glass window. Nic Cage and Sean Connery, no strangers to this type of picture, freely toss away their inhibitions and embrace the cheese from word one and, along with a straight-laced performance from Ed Harris, somehow validate the whole thing. The dialog would have been deemed too unrealistic for a Hanna-Barbara cartoon, but through sheer force of will (plus a few blatant winks at the audience) it works too. Top of the mountain for the 'insanely stupid action flick' boom of the mid '90s, it's wildly fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable in spite of itself.
What does one need to know about The Rock? Well, it's one very entertaining and thrilling film, but there's not much else to it. Still, I think it's one of the best action films of the 1990s. At times it's somewhat dumb, at times it's inconsistent, the whole package however is so appealing that you can watch it again and again and not get tired of it. It features some breathtaking San Francisco scenery. The performances are memorable, especially by the three leads. Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris are very good in this film. The scenes on Alcatraz are exciting, and the prison was filmed very well. Michael Bay, however, is not a great director. The jokes and action are impressive but tight filmmaking this is not. Bay relies too much on quick cuts and snappy dialogue instead of trying to build truly impressive scenes. The story too is hardly anything to write about. Bay can deliver the visuals though. The score by Hans Zimmer is another strong point. Most of all The Rock is a feel-good film. It's by far my favourite film by Bay, and I recommend seeing it.
Sean Connery must have the patience of Job. He has spent 30 years in isolation on account of secrets he knows and skills he possesses. He has even successfully escaped from Alcatraz...something that general knowledge states could not be done. After all of this, the ones who have screwed him around turn out to be the ones who need him most when the island is taken over by dis-gruntled soldiers and a past General of the Viet Nam war who have taken 81 hostages. Nick Cage is called in as a chem-weapons expert. He knows that field, but knows little else, as he has never seen combat, and it has been years since he had any weapons training. There's no problem for an audience to adjust their radar to see Connery in a cloak and dagger situation...and one that has high energy. But...with Nick Cage..he seems to be cast some what over his head and out of his element. There is some measure of a modern day "Horatio Alger" character to his performance, but to my view the film could have been made without him, or his role could have been reduced. He actually bogs things down because he needs to be rescued a bit too often. And Cage is not the only problem with this film. The twists and turns of this plot defy reality at some points. There are a few entertaining and exciting moments in the film, but these are outweighed by the gaps in credibility of the plot and of some of the characters, especially the General who changes co-ordinates on a weapon of destruction, and claims he was only bluffing, and tries to call off the whole incident. Of course, the people that he has recruited are PO'd to a fare-thee-well. But, plot dysfunctions such as this take the steam out of the sails of the film, and it's hard to take the film seriously. That would be enough to chase off the critical thinkers, but not enough to turn off the thrill-seekers who want to be entertained...and that's probably the only reason this piece of celluloid has any legs at all. Because the film has mostly entertainment value of a destructive sort and does not seek to engage the audience, it fails to deliver. I have given it 5 stars, which I consider to be quite generous. I cannot recommend it, and I would not care to watch it again.
The island known as " The Rock " is the one prison where no inmate has ever managed to escaped from. The fact is, one escape was successful and the vanished prisoners have never been caught. Immitating history, this incredible movie too has escaped the enormous accolades and noteworthy praise it should have received. Not only for the sheer star power is contained, but for the incredible excitement it generated in audiences across the country. The story is of a remarkable and dedicated but now renegade U.S. general (Ed Harris) who has managed to obtain some extremely dangerous and definitely lethal toxin. Together, with the help of a loyal group of U.S. Marines, is holding some civilian hostages on that imprisoned island. The general demands The F.B.I director (John Spencer) and other U.S. authorities to pay $100 million dollars in reparations to the dead soldiers's families who have never been told how they died or even recognized for their ultimate bravery. Unable to admit their country's deception, the authorities instead send in a S.E.A.L team to destroy the general and his men. Accompanying the SEAL Team is a former inmate (Sean Connery) of Alcatraz and a chemical weapons's specialist (Nicolas Cage) to rescue the hostages. The movie is a vivid action packed thrill ride filled with high drama and suspense. The excellent cast and splendid car chase scenes, together with jet fighters and a fiery explosive finale makes for a true Classic. Easily recommended. ****
I was a little surprised at how ridiculous "The rock" is. It's about a
group of rebellious marines, led by Ed Harris, who take Alcatraz by
force and then threaten to fire a massively lethal gas upon the
population unless they get one million dollar each as a compensation
for the oblivion that they feel the American government has condemned
all killed military to. Sean Connery is a member of the British
Intelligence who is still held in prison, and was the only person to
ever manage to escape from Alcatraz; and Nicolas Cage is a FBI chemical
expert. They both end up being teamed up to save the world.
The whole premise, at least the way it is purported here, is completely ridiculous, and things are made worse by Michael Bay's direction, because he films the whole thing in his usual video clip style. I also found Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage to be a very unlikely hero duo -Connery's role perhaps a little parody of his 007 impersonation? There also aren't real serious villains, those that you love to hate until the heroes of the show take care of them; or any mind-blowing action.
All in all, "The rock" is, at best, one more action flick that you can watch and immediately hopefully forget.
To describe The Rock in the most reassuring terms: Almost as
sensational as Die Hard. That is the calibre of action movie we are
looking at here. The production of The Rock was blessed with a $75
million budget, a hard R rating and a veteran movie producer and
director Michael Bay has utilised those three assets to their full
potential. The Rock is one of the wildest, most breathtaking action
movies you will ever see.
The Rock shows us the two most beautifully established characters in an action movie since Lethal Weapon. Of course, being an action film The Rock has less dialogue driven scenes than your average movie but that doesn't even matter because the dialogue is so truthful about the characters. The movie also puts a very original spin on the Hollywood terrorist plot. In the end, the main bad guy turns out not be to half as crazy or hypocritical as it first seems and his vicious Cronies turn out be the only real bad guys.
So, the plot of the movie: General Francis Hummel (Ed Harris) is angry at the government for their disrespectful treatment of combat veterans who fell in battle and their families. He doesn't like the fact that their families are not compensated and are told lies about what happened to them. He and his Platoon of Marines seize control of a Naval weapons Depot and steal a cache of rockets full of extremely deadly poison gas. Hummel and his Marines then seize control of the former prison island of Alcatraz, take 81 hostages and place the rockets there, pointing them towards San Fransisco. He phones the head of the FBI and tells him that if the US government does not give him $100 million dollars within 24 hours to disperse among the families of all the Marines that he commanded who died in battle and his own men who he brought with him on the mission, he will fire the poison gas missiles at San Fransisco, killing millions of people. The leaders of America's armed forces meet to discuss how to confront the problem. They decide to send in a Navy Seal team to infiltrate the prison. Along with the Seal team they send in the FBI's best chemical weapons expert, Stanley Goodspeed (Nicholas Cage) who knows how to disarm the rockets and imprisoned British SAS agent John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery), who was held for some time in Alcatraz for stealing a top secret FBI microfilm and not giving up its location and is the only man to have ever escaped. He logically knows how to break into the prison. The team of Navy Seals barely make it inside the prison when things take a dramatic turn for the worse. They are surrounded by General Hummel's Marines in the prison's shower room and mercilessly massacred, but Connery and Cage survive the encounter by staying hidden in the tunnel below. They have less than 15 hours to disarm all the rockets and set up green flares to signal for evacuation before the US Airforce bombs the Island into oblivion.
With the exception of a fairly routine car chase, the action scenes in The Rock are all inventive and unique. One of my favourites is when the rogue marines corner Connery and Cage at the end of a mine cart track and they must use all their wits and limited resources to defeat their deadly pursuers. The movie's last handful of bad guys are taken to hell in a spectacular fashion involving such methods as a sphere of poison gas and a rocket. The movie climaxes with what has become one of the most iconic scenes of 1990s action cinema, as our hero played by Nicholas Cage, races out of the lighthouse with his two green flares in a desperate attempt to save himself and the hostages from being blasted into oblivion by an imminent air force carpet bombing.
While not achieving the classic status of Die Hard, The Rock is still remembered and respected 13 years on as an elite action movie, one of the finest examples of great action cinema. Coming from someone who has seen plenty of highly praised, "Important","classic" movies from Citizen Kane to Pulp Fiction, let me say that The Rock is one of the best damn movies ever made.
Personally I think Michael Bay can't direct his way out of a paper bag.
But to be honest, I do enjoy most of his movies. This one is probably
my favorite Bay film.
Now, I know this movie is on the borderline of ridiculous, but that's why I like it. I've accepted that. Its funny, smart, and action packed.
On the "good guys" side: Sean Connery gave an excellent performance as John Mason, the aged former inmate of Alcatraz. Nicholas Cage gave a comical performance as Dr. Goodspeed, the wimpy, cocky chemical expert. John Spencer was annoying as FBI Director James Womack but I think he was supposed to be. William Forsythe was good as the tough FBI Agent Paxton. Michael Biehn was convincing as Anderson, the commander of the Navy SEALS team. And Danny Nucci was annoying as Lt. Shephard, oh well I won't cry about it.
On the "bad guys" side: Ed Harris gave the best performance as Brigadier General Frank Hummel, leader of the Marine team who takes over Alcatraz. David Morse was really good as Major Tom Baxter, the second in command. John C. McGinley was really good as the obedient Captain Hendrix, who endlessly searches the tunnels for the SEALS. Tony Todd was really good as Captain Darrow, the mercenary team member who wants to be paid. Gregory Sporleder was really annoying as Captain Frye, the annoying mercenary who just gets in the way and is really annoying. And Bokeem Woodbine is OK as Sgt. Crisp.
Over all, a cocky movie but thats what makes it great.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Rock is a favorite action, adventure and suspenseful film of mine.
Some of my favorite players-- Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage, and Ed
Harris-- stared in the movie. Hummel (Ed Harris) played an evil
villain. Dr. Goodspeed (Nicholas Cage) has knowledge of chemical
warfare and so he arrives sent to Alcatraz with some Navy Seals because
he works with the C.I.A. The Rock keeps you on the edge of your seat
because of chemical missiles threatening the city of San Francisco,
California. Nicholas Cage, the scientist, risks his life to rescue the
city, while his girlfriend comes to the city when he tells her not to.
One of my favorite scenes is the scene where the Marines wipe out Anderson's (Navy Seals) team. Another scene I enjoyed was the scene with Goodspeed near the beginning, when he is diffusing the chemical bomb. The agent trainee with him didn't know when he squeezed the doll it would send out explosive, poisonous gas. I enjoyed the suspense as I watched the movie again and again.
The most powerful character in this movie is Mason (Sean Connery). He has many secrets and an extensive knowledge of maximum security prisons, since he is the only man who has ever escaped from Alcatraz. For this reason he was chosen to go with the Seals. This movie has characters with action. The cast is strong; the film has just the right comedy mixed with suspense. This film is my favorite action movie. I never grow tired of seeing this movie over and over again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I thought the film was very good it was on the telly the other night and I watched it all the way through but when it got to the part near the end when Sean fights one of the terrorists the terrorist calls him an English B*****d now if you listen at the beginning of the film the part he is playing is of a person born in Glasgow,Scotland which means he could not be English. The film had a lot of good action sequences and some very funny bits as well. I liked Nicholas Cage he seemed to work well with Sean Connery and the scenes underneath Alcatraz were very well done. The film as a whole was very well put together and everyone played a really good part. The actors they got to play all the parts are well known which makes the film worth watching again and again, I did not see any part of the film that dragged in any way, it went from one action piece to the next very well.
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