Film: The Rock

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Film:

The Rock

Director: Michael Bay
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Walt Disney Video

Between his high-octane debut, Bad Boys, and 1998’s wannabe blockbuster Armageddon, hotshot director Michael Bay forged his dubious reputation with this crowd-pleasing action extravaganza. In it a psychotically disgruntled war hero (Ed Harris) seizes the island prison of Alcatraz and threatens to wage chemical warfare against nearby San Francisco unless the government publicly recognizes the men who were killed under Harris’s top-secret command. Nicolas Cage plays the biochemist who teams up with the only man ever to have escaped from Alcatraz (Sean…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Between his high-octane debut, Bad Boys, and 1998’s wannabe blockbuster Armageddon, hotshot director Michael Bay forged his dubious reputation with this crowd-pleasing action extravaganza. In it a psychotically disgruntled war hero (Ed Harris) seizes the island prison of Alcatraz and threatens to wage chemical warfare against nearby San Francisco unless the government publicly recognizes the men who were killed under Harris’s top-secret command. Nicolas Cage plays the biochemist who teams up with the only man ever to have escaped from Alcatraz (Sean Connery) in an attempt to foil Harris’s terrorist scheme. As one might expect, what follows is an action-packed barrage of bullets, bodies, and climactic confrontations, replete with enough plot contrivances to give even the most jaded action fan cause for alarm. It’s a load of hooey, but the cast is obviously having a grand old time, and there’s enough wit to make the recycled action sequences tolerable. If you’re ordering this movie on DVD, be careful with the volume knobs on your home-theater sound systems, because The Rock could cause partial hearing loss and structural damage to your home. —Jeff Shannon

Barnes and Noble

Top-drawer actors, super-slick production values, and dynamic action sequences dress up this wildly implausible but breathlessly paced thriller. When renegade Marine general Ed Harris seizes control of the old prison on Alcatraz Island and threatens the San Francisco Bay Area with virus-carrying missiles, FBI biochemical expert Nicolas Cage is dispatched with a team of Navy SEALs to thwart the operation. His guide: rogue British agent Sean Connery, the only man ever to escape from Alcatraz. In his second collaboration with popcorn-movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer, former music-video director Michael Bay (Armageddon) employs kinetic visuals to divert audience attention from script improbabilities, and his viscerally exciting action set pieces are bolstered by fine performances from Cage, Connery, and especially Harris, who brings real depth to his villainous character. Criterion’s double-disc DVD Special Edition illuminates every aspect of The Rock’s production, incorporating commentaries by Bay, Bruckheimer, Cage, and Harris into a comprehensive package that also offers featurettes on the film’s stunt work and special effects. Additional supplements include storyboards, production-design sketches, on-set stills, outtakes, trailers, TV spots, excerpts from a documentary on “The Rock” and its prison, and even footage taken at the film’s world premiere on Alcatraz. Add to that Criterion’s newly remastered digital transfer, and you’ve got one of the best looking DVDs released to date. Ed Hulse

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