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Review The Rock (1996): Die Hard on Alcatraz / an action classic for sure!

genre: action, adventure, thriller, die hard clone








The Rock is one of my favourite movies of all time and has proven itself to be a classic. It's one you can watch over and over again without getting bored. So what makes The Rock so different from the other Die Hard clones?

It is almost hard to imagine that Michael Bay is one of the reasons why The Rock works. But this is one of the movies where his visual style makes sense. And for some reason he knew how to compose himself and not go overboard spectacle wise. If I had to guess this could be Jerry Bruckheimer's doing. He must have had a big hand in keeping Michael Bay in check. Every action scene is beautifully shot and choreographed and naturally is the main draw of the film. However the presence of certain actors is what really sells the action. 

These actors are Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris and Sean Connery. Ed Harris as General Hummel is the designated bad guy but he is not your typical villain. He is more the reluctant one but not one to mess with since he does have conviction. Despite his acts you have sympathy for him and you kinda want him to get back to his senses and become buddies with Nic and Sean so that they can drink beers together. Much more fun than death and destruction don't you think? Nicolas Cage as Stanley Goodspeed and Sean Connery as John Patrick Mason both are the reluctant heroes who get called in to participate while they really don't want to. But both of them have certain skills and expertise to save the day when needed. Goodspeed is a chemical weapons specialist who takes his job seriously but other than that he is your typical fun and manic Cage providing most of the comic relief. Mason is the mysterious old man with a past that has been imprisoned for a long time. The way he is introduced is quite epic and is a scene that immediately tells you that Mason is a dangerous man. Not knowing what he is about is what adds a lot of tension and thrills but naturally if you have seen the films many times that will diminish somewhat. But for the most part the scenes with Mason and how he interacts with Goodspeed hold up since you can see by the way he looks and acts that he is up to something. We all know that Sean Connerey is a phenomenal actor and that he can do a lot with very little. So having him on board improves the quality of the film significantly. 

Last but not least the soundtrack. It's one of those musical score that enhances the viewing experience considerably since it really does add something to the scenes. The score is composed by Nick Glennie-Smith, Hans Zimmer and Harry Gregson-Williams. Who did what exactly I won't go into but their collaboration has paid off since it is the one thing you will be playing in your mind long after the film has finished. Actually I just have to think about it and the themes play in my head. Yes, it's that good. 

So if for some reason you have not seen this yet out of fear for Michael Bay and his treatment to beloved franchises like Transformers and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles then ease your mind. It's nothing like that. The Rock is an action classic for sure!


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