The Rock (1996)


A team of U.S. marines led by a disillusioned war hero take a group of tourists hostage and occupy the island of Alcatraz, threatening to wipe out San Francisco if their demands aren’t met. In response the FBI call in the Navy seals, a chemical weapons expert and the only man ever to escape “the rock” to retake the island.

Well, it’s a Michael Bay film so you know what you’re going to get; a bunch of neanderthals with bad haircuts running around shooting each other, expensive cars exploding into flames in slow motion and a camera that will refuse stay still even for a nanosecond. The “plot” is nothing more than a series of ill-conceived excuses for ludicrously over the top set pieces, the characters a bunch of two dimensional caricatures who spout nothing but lame one liners and cliches; in fact, the less said about the dialogue the better. Reliable old warhorse Sean Connery manages to inject some charm and charisma into the only interesting character in the film and Ed Harris does bring some small modicum of depth to his under-written part, but Cage presents nothing but his usual blend of weak sarcasm and shouting and the rest of the cast are the usual collection of grinning, psychopathic cartoons. Bay stamps his brand of mindless overkill onto the proceedings, as literally everything in sight explodes into slow motion fireballs and it is of course not enough to see the bad guys shot or thrown out of windows, they must be impaled on scaffolding or have their innards melted by bio-weapons as well.

Having said that, he does know how to do glossy action, so it never bores during its two hour length, but The Rock is nothing more than a testosterone-fuelled firework display that made me feel like my IQ had dropped a point for every minute it lasted. And I’m still to figure out why the basement of Alcatraz contains the set for The Goonies…



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