johnlink ranks THE ROCK (1996)

I’ve spent the last month or so hitting up some old favorites. Did GHOST BUSTERS, and GOOD WILL HUNTING, and ALADDIN. I thought I’d do another of these, but one I had some worry wouldn’t be quite as good as I remembered. I probably watched THE ROCK twenty times in high school and thought it was some seriously cool shit. Would it still hold up?

I watched THE ROCK (1996) on 12.30.09. I’ve seen this movie dozens of times, but hadn’t viewed it in probably five or six years.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAIN THE SAME.

 FILM

This film contains the key to Michael Bay’s problem. There is one scene in the beginning where Nicholas Cage is having a normal conversation with his girlfriend. Rather than linger on shots and let tension build, Bay cuts between the two actors like he’s trying to set a record for shortest average shot length in a scene. We don’t need fifty cuts in a one minute dramatic scene Michael, we really don’t.

As a piece of film, this movie has several flaws. It contains ridiculous leaps of logic (is it possible that injecting something into your body would possibly prevent your skin from melting?), it contains jumps in time (all that happens in forty hours without sleep, really?), and it contains some things which should really have just been edited out (do we need the SF car chase?). This, no doubt, is a fun Michael Bay thrill ride. But it is not a good film. SCORE: 3

MOVIE

So why is it so much damn fun? A lot of it is elevated by the actors. Sean Connery has real fun. Some of it is the dialogue (Losers whine about ‘their best’, winners go home and fuck the prom queen). A lot of it is that Bay just knows how to put you on his back and take you for a crazy action-filled ride. You can’t call his films good, they are varying degrees of bad, but you can certainly say many of them are entertaining as hell. That is where he fell off the wagon in TRANSFORMERS 2, he just never made it particularly fun. THE ROCK did not age extremely well, but it certainly is still enjoyable. SCORE: 8

ACTING

This is tough because there are various levels. Nicholas Cage is just not good in this. I don’t have a hate-on like some people do for him, but he has had better roles. Connery is great, and Ed Harris is perfectly cast as the villain. A huge list of supporting actors (including a personal favorite of mine, David Morse), round out a cast which is all very committed to telling a good story. I give this a slightly above average score, but without Ed Harris it would be on the other end of five. SCORE: 6

WRITING

Well, this is difficult too. The dialogue is often times sharp, though there are several misses. The story zips along, ignoring restraints like time, sleep, and the fact that Alcatraz would have been MUCH more difficult to escape. Maybe that is the worst part of this whole thing. Connery rolls under a furnace, picks one of three pipes to pull on, and they are in. Really? That’s all it took? I think we could have sacrificed some of the SF car chase to have a more tense maze in the bowels of the prison. Maybe Connery gets them all lost and the Seals get testy. The flow of this film, while paced at the speed of one of its VX rockets, doesn’t quite work correctly. SCORE: 4

BONUS

The theme music to this film is one of my all time favorite movie themes. It is rousing, perfect work by Hans Zimmer.

FINAL SCORE

FILM: 3; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 4; BONUS: 1

TOTAL: 22

FINAL SCORE: 5.5

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~ by johnlink00 on December 30, 2009.

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