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Monday, July 1, 2013

Film - The Rock - Starring Nicholas Cage, Sean Connery, and Ed Harris (released in 1996)

Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer are famous in the film making world, known for the action and fast paced movies that they make. This post is about a movie that they made a fairly long time back, a movie that is still popular on its re-runs, and which made a fairly large amount of money. Nowadays, movies can make upwards of a billion dollars, and Michael Bay has directed the Transformer series, the return of which exceed 2 billion dollars, but this was in 1996, and for a movie to make the $335 million that The Rock made was a big amount. The movie also won praise from critics, something that Bay's later movies have not got.
The movie had some interesting moments, with there being disputes regarding the credits for writing the movie, and even some tension between Michael Bay and the studio executives (Walt Disney Studio). And for an interesting moment, when there is a scene in the film where the character played by Sean Connery throws off the FBI Director from the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, and he dangles from the edge of the hotel; the shooting led to calls to the hotel from concerned bystanders who could see a person hanging from the edge of the building. The movie shows a lot of the Alcatraz Island, located in San Francisco Bay area, close to the Golden Gate Bridge, almost like an advertisement for people to come and visit it.




The movie takes the line of a crisis situation, where the experts are not available, and suddenly, you have to depend on somebody else to help resolve the situation. In the movie, a group of rogue marines (Recon Marines) led by a disenchanted leader, Brigadier General Frank Hummel (Ed Harris), plan a situation where they will force the Government into a crisis situation. He is very disenchanted with the Government ignoring the marines and other soldiers who have done so much for the country, but have been ignored, and in their deaths, their families have been ignored. So, he plans to force the situation. He and his men capture a very dangerous weapon, multiple sets of VX gas–armed M55 rockets, force their way into Alcatraz Island, and capture the tourists visiting that place. They set up the rockets, and then threaten the Government that unless the Government pays them $100 million (which will be distributed to his men and to others who died in situations which the Government will not acknowledge). This sets up a crisis situation, pulling in the military and the FBI.
The first rush of any Government in such a situation is to send in forces to end this kind of situation, but there is some complexity. They need somebody who is an expert in such weapons, which pushes in Dr. Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage), who did not expect that he would need to go with them, but is informed that he will also be going in with the team. The bigger problem is about getting inside the island undetected, which has to be an underwater mission, utilizing the inner network of the island. There is only such person, a high security prisoner who once broke out of the Alcatraz jail, John Mason (Sean Connery). Mason is in prison for a long time, without any record of his detention, his main crime being that he learnt too many secrets that the Government will not want to disclose. But he is important for the mission, and hence he needs to be let out of the jail, showing an interesting chase sequence through the hilly roads of San Francisco, with Stanley chasing after Mason.
So they finally enter the former prison, and Mason is able to guide them inside. However, there are preventive measures that the FBI and military did not know about, and the skilled squad is detected and forced into a fire-fight, where they are all killed at the hands of the rogue soldiers. Who is left ? Mason and Stanley. Mason has not interest in all this, and wants to leave, with Stanley urging him to stay on and help to complete the mission. There is an alternative mechanism also being put in place, by bombing the entire island with special explosives that will destroy the chemical weapon but also kill all the tourists who have been detailed on the island. It's a fast paced movie, and well worth watching.

Film - The Rock - Starring Nicholas Cage, Sean Connery, and Ed Harris (released in 1996)

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