The 1996 film “The Rock” serves as a typical summer movie.
It has grand action sequences featuring a car chase sequence through downtown San Francisco and special effects. The movie allows viewers the escape the summer heat for a couple of hours while those on the screen endure the pressure of a race against the time clock film.
“The Rock” plot revolves around a sympathetic villain General Hummel (Ed Harris) a decorated general who has serves his country in conflicts spanning different periods. Mr. Harris portrays his military demeanor but at the same time adds dimension of someone who’s only forced to become the villain despite the injustices of the federal government.
His character is fed up with the way bureaucracy works in acknowledging the sacrifices his marine reconnaissance unit. He decides to take matters into his own hands by hijacking missiles with chemical weapons capabilities, tourists as hostages while being holed up on the infamous rock – Alcatraz.
The fortress on the island, which previously served as a penitentiary, becomes a character of in itself through the film with its hidden surprises, long-narrow tunnels and passageway that leads to the heroes’ objective of locating and disarming the nuclear weapons.
Nicolas Cage is Stanley Goodspeed, an F.B.I. chemical weapons expert, who’s relegated to the desk, but his introductory scene does show how well he deals with tension.
With a deadline to meet in regards to the fugitive’s demands, they have no one else to turn to but Sean Connery’s John Mason, a British operative, who’s claim to fame is escaping from Alcatraz only to be caught and imprisoned for his crimes.
Mr. Connery proves adept at acclimating himself with the times for a man confined to jail for the majority of his life as he begrudgingly holds those for his imprisonment accountable for their actions.
It is through his relationship with Stanley that he finds someone that he can trust after working as the lone wolf operative. The charges of his crime are revealed in the film and small pieces of his life are also exposed as the film progresses.
The relationship between the veteran, old gruff and the desk jockey who finally gets called out in the field benefits the film.
“The Rock” serves as Mr. Cages introduction as an action star that would define his career in dealing with perils that’s thrown at him. His uncanny way with dialogue is also recognizable.
Mr. Connery proves that he’s still adept as a different type of British operative as he showcases his combat and weaponry tactics. He’s also given the best comedic lines of the film swaying from the film’s serious focal point of a henchman with hostages and nuclear weapon pointed at a major U.S. metropolis.
Helming this summer film is director Michael Bay who proves himself at being able to direct action film with his prior movie“Bad Boy.” Mr. Bay is known for carrying out elaborate action sequences while creating as much destruction as possible as exemplified in the chase sequence through San Francisco. He also pays a nice tribute to the armed forces as well.
But with films by Mr. Bay there are the foibles in the portrayal of minority characters with their actions and dialogue and featuring supporting female characters that bare little relevance to the film.
But then again it’s a summer film, and one tends to overlook those intangibles through this entertaining film featuring action, special effects as Mr. Cage and Mr. Connery prove capable working together to stop a madman with a trigger on the bomb looking for retribution against the country he once served and loved.
Classification: Blu-Ray Vault – 2008 Edition
Movie Grade: 3.5 out of 5 stars
A great trio from the serious Ed Harris as the General forced to take drastic actions against the country he once served and love, Sean Connery as the grizzled veteran forced to go back to a place he would rather forget about and Nicolas Cage caught in the midst of all this when he’s called upon to action.
Blu-Ray Grade: 3.5 out of 5 stars
The features comes from the 1997 DVD release but in blu-ray format. One of the highlights of the film focuses on Hollywood’s inaccurate portrayals in regards to gun usage from those that deal with firearm. The film features behind the scenes for action, special effects, trailers and teasers and more.
Another segment explores the former prison Alcatraz, interview with producer Jerry Bruckheimer who’s also featured in the audio commentary with Actors Ed Harris, Nicolas Cage and technical advisor Harry Humphries.
Rating: R – For strong violence, language and a sex scene.
Timing: 2 Hours, 16 Minutes
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
- Director: Michael Bay
- Story & Screenplay: David Weisberg & Douglas Cook
Screenplay: Mark Rosner
- Actors: Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris.