Cage and Connery Rock on the Bay
Released back in 1996 "The Rock" would be the first of three consecutive action movies for Nicolas Cage and would see him team up with Sean Connery to deliver a humorous and action packed romp around Alcatraz Prison. Whilst there is a touching element to the story, with a bad guy whose motives are sort of good "The Rock" is first and foremost an action movie and with Michael Bay directing it is a movie which has one big action scene after another.
FBI biochemist Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage - Leaving Las Vegas) finds himself sent into action when Marine General Francis Xavier Hummel (Ed Harris - Apollo 13) and his loyal band of men take control of Alcatraz Island holding the tourists hostage. Protesting about the government's treatment of those who went on covert military missions he has stolen VX gas warheads and is threatening to cause mass destruction if his demands are not answered. Whilst Stanley knows how to disarm the bombs he's more of a science geek than an action man and when he is teamed up with the abrupt John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery - DragonHeart), the only man who has ever escaped from Alcatraz, things get tetchy.
The thing about "The Rock" is that whilst there is a bit of "quite possibly" about the story as maybe a team of highly trained marines could take over Alcatraz, it is very much a movie with focuses on action, excitement and entertainment delivering one big action scene after another. But surprisingly for a movie which ends up being more about what you see rather than the storyline there is some slight depth and that comes from the fact that General Hummel is actually doing what he is doing because of the poor treatment of his colleagues. Whilst it doesn't make "The Rock" deep it does make it more than just one action scene after another and gives it some motive.
Now being a movie directed by Michael Bay "The Rock" is very much all about the action and to be honest it all works, from Hummel taking over Alcatraz through to the way we meet Mason, having been released from prison because of his knowledge of the island. But where as in more recent years a movie directed by Michael Bay has been more and more about the action the blend of action and storyline works here rather than just being one big action scene after another with little in between to really connect them.
As for the acting well through out it is solid and entertaining but nothing more than you would expect from what is really an action movie. Nicolas Cage finds the right amount of humour and quirkiness to make Stanley Goodspeed entertaining whilst Connery fills Mason with a gruffness but also a charm making him a domineering character. And finishing it off is Ed Harris who does a decent job of playing Hummel managing to deliver the tough leader aspect whilst also getting across the motives of the character quite beautifully. None of these performances are out of the world nor are the performances of the supporting cast which includes John Spencer, David Morse, Michael Biehn and Claire Forlani but they work for what "The Rock" is.
What this all boils down to is that "The Rock" is a fun action romp, an entertaining movie which trades on action with some witty dialogue. And to be honest there is little wrong with it or the performances from the likes of Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery and Ed Harris and as such is a solid, fun action movie.