Apr 11, 2012

The Rock, 1996

The Rock, 1996
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Nicholas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris

Stage: Home TV selection, late night with nothing smarter to do

The Rock in short:
Stanley Goodspeed, who lives in Washington D.C., is a biochemist who works for the FBI. Soon after his fiancée Carla Pestalozzi announces that she is pregnant, Stanley gets a call from FBI director James Womack. Womack tells Stanley that San Francisco's Alcatraz Island has been taken hostage, along with 81 tourists, by marine General Francis Xavier Hummel 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. Stanley 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. Stanley knows how to disarm the bombs, but Stanley needs someone who knows Alcatraz well enough to get him inside..

Preps: Hm. I have seen this at the movies in that year. I was a fan of action movies and this was just the one to fit the description. However, it never left me with a desire to visit this place. Which means I didn't have it in a good memory.

Reality: Well, this is a clear evidence that sometimes even a good cast cannot make a good movie. Not without a good and solid script and in these days of mass production of such movies, without a differentiation from same genre.
There were some standards set for this type of movie from 1988 with Die Hard. It was a lot harder to make a remarkable piece ever since that standard. Not speaking merely of Willis, but of the complete story, setting, trace it left behind. To be exact, in my mind almost none movies that came even a decade later, couldn't live up to the expectations Die Hard has set. Part one and two. Not the later versions, which were a mere dust to what first and second part represented.
Now, The Rock has a story of once good people that got pissed off by actions of their own government. Should veterans get paid or not? A debate for another place or time. Is really so great if you can say you were a part of war and killed dozens, now you need a pension? Whose fault is it anyway you were sent to the battlefield? And who is to pay? Somehow the movie resists average taste with the unique placement. To be quite honest, a lot of people globally want to see the famous cage. And a lot of movie directors must have dreamt of doing a piece there. Anyhow, now we have it, but it leaves me cold. Connery and Cage are the stars, yet I only feel their egos running around and fame from other movies I saw them in. None of that famous energy pours in my veins. I don't know, what is missing. But there is some spirit lacking that could bring up the potential of this piece high above average.
Ed Harris is the rage, Connery and Cage the voice of public, government and themselves at the same time. Fortunately enough we have an emotional distraction, because the viewer subconsciously wants Cage at least alive, because he has a pregnant girlfriend. Now, the time to speak about morality of this fact is somewhere else. Should FBI bomb stalkers, agents with high risk, high mountain climbers, people that have a job or a hobby with a life risk, have a girlfriend even? This makes them vulnerable (and in my personal opinion, a bit egoistic). True, that you cannot choose your missions or visions in life. We are what we are. But we can at least have a bit of an influence on the people around us and maybe the fact if we form a family or not.
As said, not really the essence of this movie. But it slipped my mind while watching. As claimed before, only average action, average scenario and setting. And cast. So gracious, yet so dissappointing.

My personal rating: 5,0 (watchable, if you really are a fan of Cage or Connery, or if you don't have anything smarter to do).

The Rock on IMDB

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