Quick-Thoughts: Michael Bay’s The Rock (1996)

But not starring…

Confession: I have actually never seen a Michael Bay movie besides his first three Transformer movies, which howbeit, I haven’t even watched since I was a child. Over the past few years I’ve curiously heard people describe him (as either a positive or negative) like he’s some action movie John Waters, and just today his new feature Ambulance came out, so color me finally motivated to start looking into some of his work.

None of that Waters precedent really seems to strike me as the case yet at least here — although I noticed a few weak white-trash jokes taking eency weency reaches to get there. The Rock is really just a straight-shooting action blockbuster that accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. Overtly clean character arcs, although, sweet and sugary to mildly please. Bay’s virtually incoherent chase and combat sequences somehow just about rivet due to his unusual excess of catastrophe; he’s also not that bad when it comes to building (very loud) tension. The film has a cute little “uphold the Constitution!” mindset to go along with it as well by diagramming government bluff towards soldiers as nothing short of the snake that eats its tail; Bay is one smart marketer when appealing to the traditional American! Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery’s comradery is a textbook touch that only magnetizes because they act as the eccentrics in which they’ve always historically been. Ed Harris though gives it his all as per usual, and him having the best character in the movie certainly helps us see that. 

Evidently, a kind of typical 90s action flick. Nothing I’d probably ever watch again, but it’s competent enough for the one-go!

Verdict: C+

“The Rock” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime.

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