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The Rock
1996 - R - 136 Mins.
Director: Michael Bay
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer, Don Simpson
Written By: David Weisberg, Douglas S. Cook, Mark Rosner
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris, Michael Biehn, David Morse, William Forsythe
Review by: John Ulmer
The film that solidified Nicolas Cage as an action star and Sean Connery as…well…a guy who uses the F-word a lot, “The Rock” never ceases to slow on the action; its plot is, of course, ridiculous, but I’m not looking for an Oscar winner in an action movie.

Cage plays Stanley Goodspeed (weird name number 1), a chemical specialist whom disarms chemical bombs and such.

Ed Harris plays Himmel or Hummel or something like that (weird name number 2), a respected General who one day decides, “What the heck!” and takes Alcatraz prison hostage; he demands respect for dead marines from the government, or he will release some ba-a-a-ad gas on San Francisco. Enter Cage, who must, with a pack of government marines, enter Alcatraz from underneath (under water) and take out Himmel/Hummel.

That’s where Sean Connery comes in as John Mason, the only man to ever escape Alcatraz unscathed. Connery “agrees” to help them enter the prison the same way he escaped.

“The Rock” is pure, unadulterated fun. Nothing less, nothing more. It delivers everything you want in an action film: Explosions, guns, special effects, and more explosions. If you can’t have fun watching a movie like this, you can’t have fun watching a movie. Period.

The acting in “The Rock” is nothing to scoff at. Nicolas Cage is great in this role, as in other action roles. The thing that is different here, however, is that Nic doesn’t know how to use weapons much; he is a chemical expert, not a trained FBI agent. So, it is more than humorous to see him running around defenseless; especially seeing that it is Nicolas Cage, who usually plays action roles where he is the master of the weapons.

Sean Connery is perfect for the role of John Mason; he blends wisecracks, action and…well…Sean Connery.

Ed Harris is also very good as Himmelhummelwhatever; he seems a bit held back at times, but overall, his acting is as good as ever.

The direction style in “The Rock” reminds me very much of other Nicolas Cage films, like John Woo’s “Face/Off” and such. It is gritty, dark, and exciting. It adapts to the characters’ emotions.

The first thirty minutes or so of “The Rock” are nothing special; I almost stopped watching at one point. But once they get to Alcatraz the action picks up and never slows down. Explosion after explosions after gunfight after stunts, leading to an explosive ending (literally) that may be predictable to a certain degree, but nevertheless lotsa’ fun.

All in all, “The Rock” is the kind of movie where you sit back, turn off your brain for a little over two hours, and have some slam-bam fun.
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

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