The Rock Movie Review

Long touted as the low-budget (in action movie terms) alternative to this summer's Hollywood blockbusters, The Rock has been something of a question mark among movie forecasters. It doesn't have any real special effects like Twister or Independence Day. It doesn't build on a 40 year-old history like Mission: Impossible. It doesn't even have any big name action stars.

What it does have is some of the best actors working in film today (Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, and Ed Harris), seasoned producers Jerry Bruckheimer and the late Don Simpson (Top Gun, for starters), Bad Boys director Michael Bay, and some relatively unknown screenwriters (David Weisberg, Douglas S. Cook, and Mark Rosner), who all pull together to tell one hell of a story -- and hands-down the best action flick of the year-to-date.

Based on the first 15 minutes of the film, I started off with some severe doubts. Poorly photographed and edited, the intro barely managed to belch out the premise of the movie: that jaded General Francis X. Hummel (Harris) and his gang of marine mutineers are taking over Alcatraz with 15 rockets full of V.X. nerve gas, holding the city of San Francisco hostage until his demands are met. (These demands are pretty stupid, involving some cash and reparations for injury to the honor of dead marines.) Well, actually paying the money is never an option, so the FBI sends in a group of Navy SEALS, plus biochemist Stanley Goodspeed (Cage) and hardened criminal/Alcatraz escapee Patrick Mason (Connery).

But after this 15 minute lull, The Rock explodes into an incredibly-paced actioner that turns in one of the best entries of the ever-growing Die Hard genre. The best part of the film is Cage and Connery's chemistry -- the fact that they are such unlikely action heroes makes them so very believable and so fun to watch. The comedy in the film also goes a long way -- something Bay is also good at, as he proved in Bad Boys.

The Rock has one thing going for it that no other summer actioner does, and that's believability. It's just outrageous enough to make a movie out of -- just real enough to make you wonder why it couldn't happen tomorrow. Plus, you get to see a guy's face melt off, which is always a bonus. (The production notes say that this V.X. stuff is real.)

Minor quibbles aside (composers Hans Zimmer and Nick Glennie-Smith ripping off their own Crimson Tide score and a huge 10-minute meaningless car chase), I highly recommend action fans see The Rock when they finally wake up and realize just how stupid Mission: Impossible really is.

Cast & Crew

Director :


The Rock Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: R, 1996


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