The Rock


‘…if The Rock lacks any kind of realism…there’s no shortage of crowd-pleasing antics to amuse all classes….’

Quite a collection of talents, Michael Bay’s The Rock has been gaining traction of late in terms of being a secret James Bond film. While not part of the Eon franchise, star Sean Connery generally gets quite a lot of authorship of his projects from the 70’s onwards, and seems to have been given a certain amount of input into the character of John Mason, as ex SAS member and card-carrying representative of British Intelligence. With Connery carrying over a number of Bondian ticks into his performance here ‘but of course you are…‘, and the film’s script setting out a timeline that matches the Eon/Connery films, it’s a theory that holds some weight.

Bond or not, The Rock deserves its reputation as an action classic, a well-honed slice of studio product that makes the ridiculous nature of the story into a plus. Chemical weapons expert Nicolas Cage plays Stanley Goodspeed, an eccentric nerd who also matures in a matter of hours into a crack military man, then wavers between the two. He’s under the tuition of the best; John Mason (Connery) is engaged because he’s escaped from Alcatraz, where a rogue team led by General Frances Hummell (Ed Harris) are holding San Francisco to ransom with deadly gas-filled missiles, but Goodspeed has plenty of other secrets. After recapturing Mason during a high–speed car chase, the two join forces to lead a crack team into the Alcatraz tunnels and attempt to stop a chemical catastrophe.

It’s something of a culture-shock to see Connery in a Michael Bay film, but Bay’s shock and awe tactics married to a Simpson/Bruckheimer production certainly provide a seductive gloss. Seeing Connery speaking Quentin Tarantino’s re-written dialogue is also a novelty, and the Scottish star seems to enjoy having a bit of bite in his lines; the constant references to his ‘grunge’ hairstyle are certainly amusing. Cage gives one of his Wild Man of Borneo performances, never quite taking a consistent line on whether his character is a dweeb or an ubermench, and filling the gaps with random shouts and strange epithets. Harris adds class, as do a top-notch support including Michael Biehn, Tony Todd, Phillip Baker Hall, David Morse and John C McGinley. Finding his signature moves, Bay throws in plenty of explosions to keep the pot boiling; if The Rock lacks any kind of realism, particularly when Hummell’s real motives are clarified, there’s no shortage of crowd-pleasing antics to amuse all classes.


Leave a Reply
  1. Ed Harris, Ed Harris, hmmmm, the name seems vaguely familiar. Man, now that’s going to bug me all day about where I’ve heard that name before.

    Hey Dix, any idea why that name seems so familiar? I swear, it’s like I know somebody by that name or something….

    • It’s a name synonymous with quality film, much as the name Alex Good is synonymous with rigorous intellectual thought. When we talk about someone doing game-changing work, we talk about them getting their Ed Harris On.

      • Oh yeah, thanks. He’s the guy who starred in “Little Flipper and the Mean Old Volcano” right?

        I have to admit, I am waiting for a movie that is the world’s best movie. Maybe we need to make it better by qualifying that it has to star Ed Harris in it too?

        • It’s a name that filmgoers instinctively trust.

          Red Sonja was the world’s greatest movie until you can along…

          • Just doing my duty. Somebody has to be the voice of contrariness in the world of Hollywood yes-men.

            I certainly trust the name of Ed Harris. When he tells me not to watch a movie, the first words out of my mouth are “*&^% you buddy, nobody tells ME what to watch”. Oh wait, I mean “Yes Sir, right away Sir!”.
            Sorry, for a second I got you confused with that Eddie Harris guy.

              • Ohhhhhhh. Man, that’s clever. Maybe I should create an alter-alter-ego and call him Bookstoogeon. Because I want to be hip with what the kids are jiving now.

                Oh, that reminds me of that scene from Shrek III where Shrek is talking to Arthur and tries to be “relevant” and fails so badly. It makes me laugh still, even just thinking about it.

                But enough about movies, lets get back to this alter-alter-ego thing you have going. Do you ever feel threatened by yourself? Like what one of you does isn’t going to be enough for all of you? You can tell me, I totally won’t tell a soul.

                • I don’t feel threatened by myself. I took a restraining order, so I’m not allowed anywhere near my property. It’s harsh, but the only way that I can ensure that I’m safe from myself. I’ve been very patient with myself, but I don’t seem to be able to see reason, and it’s probably for the best that I don’t have any input into my own life for a while. I’ll never learn.

                  • I’m very sorry to hear that. It’s always tough when you get in a legal fight with yourself. I hope the costs weren’t astronomical, what you having to pay for both sets of lawyers.

                    Did the judge provide you a little dressing room so you could change as you switched from the prosecutors side to the defendants side?

                    • No, I have a CGI transformation, paid top dollar for it, has to be used. It’s more subtle than you might expect, looks just like a change of sweater.

                      To be honest, I’m disappointed with myself. I thought I was better than this. I really didn’t think I would escalate things, but it seems there’s nothing I won’t do to self-sabotage. Fortunely, I’m representing myself on both sides, so the legal costs are minimal. But I fully intend to teach myself a lesson, so there’s no point in me backing out now. I really hope that this will be the last I see of myself, I’m tired of seeing my face!

                    • Well, keep us updated because if you are representing you, things could get really messy.

                      Thank goodness you have John Wick to watch. That should help calm things down 😉

                    • John Wick, like Spirited Away, should be in a glass box in every home that can be broken open if and when required.

Leave a Reply