Release Year: 1996
Director: Michael Bay
Writers: Mark Rosner (screenplay), David Weisberg (screenplay & story), Douglas S. Cook (screenplay & story)
Starring: Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, John Spencer, David Morse, William Forsythe, Michael Biehn, Vanessa Marcil, John C. McGinley, Gregory Sporleder, Tony Todd, Bokeem Woodbine
Rating: Nominated for 1 Oscar: Best Sound. Nominated for 2 Saturn Awards: Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film, Best Music.
A chemical wepaons expert and an incarcerated elderly British spy are forced to cooperate in order to infiltrate Alcatraz where a group of terrorists are holding 81 hostages and threatening to attack San Fransisco with a terrible chemical weapon.
Each decade has its own style of making genre film (generally speaking), and the 1990s version of the action movie was never too serious, sometimes had annoying music, and often snarky ex-military types with a touch of insanity, as well as a moderate use of explosions, and – last but not least – no bloody shaky-cam fight scenes! The Rock is probably one of the best examples of a real 1990s action flick. A Bay/Bruckheimer collaboration nearly always offers plenty of entertainment and this is no exception. Cage (Face/Off, 1997) here gives one of his better performances as a FBI agent who spends his days in a laboratory working with chemical weaponry and is suddenly thrown into a highly dangerous field operation, giving him plenty of opportunities to apply some fish-out-of-water comedic relief. He is balanced out by Connery (The Untouchables, 1987) as a highly capable British spy who has spends the last 35 years in U.S. prisons, and reluctantly assists the FBI. The premise is a bit hard to believe, and the plan of the terrorists, lead by Harris (Apollo 13, 1995) as a revered general who has had it with the governments disregard for the lives of soldiers, is a bit far-fetched. His motivation is honourable enough even if his methods are highly immoral, but his group turns out to have more complicated dynamics than he bargained for. The film takes its time introducing the characters, making the run time a bit on the long side, but its never drags, and when the story gets going it doesn’t let up until the very end. A great action film if one can ignore the slightly irritating score and the more dumb one-liners. Highly recommended to action fans!
Quentin Tarantino, Aaron Sorkin, Jonathan Hensleigh were uncredited contributors to the film’s script.
Picture Copyright: Disney