2401. The Rock (1996)

7.3 Enjoyably ridiculous, but overlong
  • Acting 7.3
  • Directing 7.2
  • Story 7.3
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris

Director: Michael Bay

Running Time: 136 mins

The Rock is an American film about a chemical weapons expert and an ex-convict who are drafted into a team of Navy Seals, with the mission to infiltrate Alcatraz Island, where a group of disgruntled marines have set up a threat of a nerve attack on San Francisco.

Action-packed wherever you look and overflowing with blockbuster energy, there’s no denying that The Rock is a hugely entertaining watch, and although it regularly suffers with poor dialogue, non-sensical plot points and overlong action sequences, it’s still an enjoyably ridiculous time at the movies.

Michael Bay’s reputation for moronic and explosive blockbusters is well-known, and while all the facets of that filmmaking style are inarguably present in The Rock, it’s compensated well by a gleefully ridiculous and over-the-top atmosphere throughout, not to mention a characteristically boisterous turn from Nicolas Cage in the lead role.

So, while the movie may not be a cerebral masterpiece, it’s an undeniably entertaining watch thanks to its abundant energy and fun-loving nature, following a hugely enjoyable story as a group of Navy Seals have to break into one of history’s most isolated prisons, with all the complexities, betrayals and twists that accompany the typical action blockbuster.

Whether it be the simplicity of the action, or the genuinely intriguing ambiguity of some characters, there’s a lot to enjoy about this movie, and with Sean Connery and Ed Harris’ characters in particular proving mysterious and enigmatic, The Rock is a film that had me thoroughly entertained for almost every moment, which is in truth all that a blockbuster like this needs to do to be a success in my book.

Sure, there are parts where the plot deviates far from reality, and the movie isn’t ever helped by a screenplay that features a good deal of rather wooden dialogue, but the best thing is that it never takes itself too seriously, being fully aware of its role as a big blockbuster that’s there for entertainment purposes above all else, something that’s always a delight to see.

And with Nicolas Cage in the lead role as a chemical weapons expert who is thrust reluctantly into the field, there’s ample opportunity for all sorts of hyperbolic, ridiculous mania throughout, and while Cage and Connery have an excellent rapport that makes their relationship thoroughly enjoyable, it’s that over-the-top, hyperactive vibe that really proves the movie’s most entertaining element.

With all that said, there are parts of The Rock that just aren’t up to scratch, and while it proves an undeniably entertaining watch in the end, it falls down due to a few moments of poor filmmaking, with the action in particular proving a real frustration.

While it’s all in the spirit of the ridiculous blockbuster vibe, there are periods – particularly during the break-in to Alcatraz – where the action just goes on a little bit too long, without enough story development to keep things interesting. Couple that with the often underwhelming nature of the screenplay, and you have a film that occasionally hits some serious obstacles that prevent it from being truly exhilarating throughout.

Overall, though, I had a lot of fun with The Rock. It’s not a perfect movie by any means, but with a hugely energetic and action-packed blockbuster vibe, coupled with fun-loving and over-the-top tendencies throughout, it definitely does enough to prove a thoroughly entertaining watch throughout, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.3.


About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com