“The Rock” (1996)

Today we’re looking at one of the most bad ass movies ever, The Rock. I don’t think awesome even begins to describe how bad ass The Rock. I’m going to have to make up a word and that word is awetrulecent. Hey, you come up with a better adjective smart-ass!

Anyway, The Rock begins with an extremely pissed off Ed Harris as General Hummel. He’s pissed because over 80 of his soldiers died without a proper burial or compensation to their families. Congress was too busy giving themselves raises to listen to him so Hummel does what any rational person would do; gather a mercenary squad and steal VX gas from a naval weapons depot. During the heist a ball of VX drops and one of their squad gets a really bad case of acne. Haha, I’m kidding… his skin melts off. Just some quick trivia, VX gas doesn’t actually melt your skin off, it cuts off your nervous system and causes convulsions and eventually death. Good stuff.

Back to the movie, we meet our hero Nicholas Cage aka Stanley Goodspeed, FBI agent and expert in chemical and biological weapons. We join him at a typical day on the job when some terrorists send them a box of serin gas and C4. Here’s a tip to future FBI chem. experts, don’t be like Stanley’s partner and play with the things in the box. Mr. Noob does of course and the doll sprays serin all over them. But Stanley is like, the god of chemicals and saves the day with one second left on the detonator. Stanley then goes home to an afternoon of naked guitar playing listening to his $600 beatles record. Meanwhile Hummel and his merry men take over Alcatraz or “The Rock” and takes a bunch of tourists hostage including the requisite Michael Bay “Crazy Black person or people”. I’m serious, watch any Michael Bay movie, except not Pearl Harbor FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NOT PEARL HARBOR!!!, and you’ll see that there is either a) A Crazy black person, b) A flamboyantly gay character or in the case of The Rock both.

So Hummel sets up 4 of the rockets around the island with the plan of giving the government 56 hours to deliver 100 million dollars for his men and the families of the dead soldiers. Stanley is called in because he’s the FBI’s top chemical specialist. He figures it’s just a training exercise so of course he tells his pregnant fiance to come with him. Because the daughter/wife/girlfriend of the hero always has to be at the command center, right? The best plan the military can come up with is to go underwater into the tunnels under The Rock. No one knows exactly how they go but there is one man who escaped and knows the tunnels. Enter Sean Connery aka John Mason, looking like a deranged bum with greasy long hair and ragged clothing. I guess 30 years of not existing can hurt your style just a bit. The US put him away because he stole a bunch of FBI secrets like Roswell and who killed JFK. The FBI is going to give him a pardon if they help him with the Rock operation. Stanley fumbles his way through the negotiation and everyone heads over the Park Plaza hotel. Enter crazy Michael Bay gay character: Anthony Clark as a hairstlyist. During his haircut Mason uses the rope no one seems to care he had and throws the FBI Director over the edge of the balcony. While everyone is pulling him up, Stanley goes off in hot pursuit of Mason and the requisite Michael Bay car chase commences. Everything that has wheels will basically explode or crash horribly. Mason has a hummer and Stanley has a Ferrari. Mason causes a streetcar to explode and smash the Ferrari so Stanley jumps on some kids dirtbike and picks up the chase. They find Mason talking with his daughter and take him to the FBI headquarters on the pier but not before one of the many great Nicholas Cage lines from The Rock, “Cut the chit-chat, A-HOLE!”

Back at the HQ, Mason can’t tell the route with the blueprints so naturally he is going with the SEAL team and Stanley is going too, which makes him extremely nausous because he’s basically a chemical nerd pussy. The team heads underwater with their super cool submarine things and then come up in the cistern room in unnecessary slo-mo. They get to the shower room and the epic battle takes place. Of course the entire SEAL team is slaughtered and it’s up to Mason and Stanley to save the day. They take out two of the missiles and then are captured by Hummel and his marines. Mason escapes the cell just like the first time and he says he is giving up and getting off the island. Stanley is left to deal with the missiles. Meanwhile the deadline passed and Hummel fires one of the missiles at the Oakland Raiders game, so really no big loss. At the last minute he changes the course and the missile goes into the ocean. Well, considering his men are the most sadistic pyschos on the planet this doesn’t really go well. With Stanley and Mason, who just saved Stanley’s ass for the third or fourth time, looking on the SEALS implode and Ed Harris and David Morse start a shootout with the rest of the men. They’re all killed except Creepy Guy from 24, Tony Todd aka Candyman aka General Juma, other Black guy and Angry Beefhead.

Mason and Stanley head for the last missile. Stanley removes the guidance chip and launches the missile into first sadistic black guy. Crazy 24 guy goes after him while Mason takes out beefhead and other black guy. Stanley dropped one of the VX pearls earlier and he shoves it into crazy guy’s throat causing him to melt in the one of the most awesome deaths ever. Stanley has to take atriphine to stop himself from being killed and then argueably one of the greatest scenes in cinema history happens. The feds, thinking that stanley and mason failed, send an airstrike to completely destroy Alcatraz. Stanley gets the green flares to signal that the threat is neutralized and kneels with one in each hand as the jets fly over head. The jets accidentely release their napalm though and Stanley is blown into the ocean. Mason comes to the rescue again and in return Stanley radios that Mason was vaporized so he can get away. The day is saved and Stanley and his new wife vandalize the church they get married at to get Mason’s microfilm. And they all live happily ever after, except of course everyone who got killed.

Michael Bay really got this one right which makes you wonder how he got Pearl Harbor so, so wrong. Casting Ben Affleck is probably one reason but there are many more.

Final note: Hans Zimmer does the score and the main theme kicks ass, but note to Hans, you can’t keep having the same melody and not have people notice. Listen to The Rock’s theme and then listen to Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s basically the same melody.

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