I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

The Rock

tn_therockNo man, I don’t got a problem. I just watch Michael Bay movies recreationally. I don’t gotta watch them when I wake up or nothin. It’s just every once in a while. I only watched PEARL HARBOR ’cause I was doing all the summer of 2001 movies. And TRANSFORMERS 3 because I thought it would be funny. Then people said I should watch this one. It’s not a big deal, man. That’s not that many. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Yeah, THE ROCK is Michael Bay’s best movie, but MONEY TALKS is Brett Ratner’s, and nobody gave him a Criterion Edition. But watching THE ROCK again I think I get it now, it’s an enjoyable enough overblown Bruckheimer & Simpson version of the ’90s prestige action movies like AIR FORCE ONE, THE FUGITIVE and IN THE LINE OF FIRE. It’s one of those movies, like UNDER SIEGE or EXECUTIVE DECISION, where they have the Pentagon brass standing around debating and overseeing the mission. They got this guy John Spencer that I remember was on The West Wing, so I kept expecting Martin Sheen to be the president. As long as it’s slickly made I’m kind of a sucker for this kind of movie, it’s not at all my favorite type of action but it’s a type that’s usually gonna be enjoyable.

And then you gotta figure in that it’s an early example of Nic Cage smuggling a little of his roach-munching weirdness into a big mainstream movie. And even more importantly it has a really good performance by and character for Ed Harris, a terrorist villain who’s entirely different from the ones in the other DIE HARD sequels and wannabes. So this is worthwhile.

Pretty much all of Bay’s worst sins – sloppy action, terrible jokes rudely interrupting scenes that are apparently supposed to be dramatic, gay stereotypes – are already evident, but he (and action movies in general) have gotten so much worse in the 15 years since that all that doesn’t seem quite as bad as it used to. Yeah, it’s embarrassing when he cuts to a shitty joke about a cartoonish gay hairdresser in the middle of his dramatic escape sequence, but it seems restrained next to the machine gun barrage of quips and mugging he sprays all over pretty much every scene in BAD BOYS 2 or the TRANSFORMERSes.

Harris plays Brigadier General Francis X. Hummel. Like Tommy Lee Jones in UNDER SIEGE or Eric Bogosian in UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY he’s a disillusioned military asset; unlike those guys he’s not a maniac or an asshole, and the government didn’t force his hand by screwing him or trying to kill him. He’s an honorable man outraged by a betrayal of the soldiers under his command. He’s tried to handle it other ways, even testifying to Congress (like Seagal at the end of ABOVE THE LAW). He probly wrote some letters, went on some cable news shows, sent out some mass emails to his friends and family saying to write their senators. But now “to protest a grave injustice” he’s taken some elite marines, stolen some chemical weapons and set up shop at Alcatraz with 80 tourists as hostages. (What happens to the hostages, by the way? Did they ever show them again in the movie? Was there a whole other movie going on about them trying to escape? Even at the end Cage tells the brass that they’re all okay, but I don’t think he actually lays eyes on a single one of them. Kinda weird.)

mp_therockCage plays FBI chemical weapons expert Stanley Goodspeed, pushed into going on the Alcatraz rescue mission with the Navy SEALs because of his expertise (just like Kurt Russell in EXECUTIVE DECISION or Ripley in ALIENS). Sean Connery plays John Patrick Mason, an S.A.S. agent who’s been unjustly imprisoned for 30 years by the U.S. government because he knows too much about Roswell and the Kennedy assassination. (Hilarious visual storytelling: in his cell he has two books, “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” and The Art of War.) They offer him a pardon because they need his knowledge of the maze of tunnels, vents and mine carts (?) beneath Alcatraz, ’cause he’s a master of escape and got out of there once and there are no maps or blueprints of that part but also it has not changed at all in three decades and also he totally remembers it, don’t worry.

Cage does get to go mega a couple times, and got to make his character goofy. It’s obvious that he made up the part where he gets a Beatles record in the mail and says he didn’t want it on CD because “First of all it’s because I’m a Beatlemaniac, and second these sound better.” I thought it was that cliche for establishing that he’s an old school guy (like Will Smith’s Chuck Taylors in I, ROBOT), but Cage explains on the commentary that it was partly because he had been concerned in real life about vinyl sounding better than CDs. So he got that in there just like Seagal gets his environmental messages in his movies.

I like when Cage is flying in with the SEALs and he’s so nervous he’s wiggling his legs like he needs to piss real bad.

Another part where Cage comes uncaged is when he almost gets burned alive by chemicals at work (a nice way of demonstrating the deadly effects of the weapons they’re trying to stop) so he goes home early to have a glass of wine and play guitar naked. In GQ’s recent “An Oral History of Transformers Director Michael Bay,” Bay brought up that scene:

“One day I showed up on set and Cage came out for a scene in his apartment dressed in a purple Speedo. And I’m like, ‘Oh, I get it. Okay. You don’t want to wear the wardrobe because you want to show your muscles. OK, let’s just get it all out in the beginning of the movie.”

Bay tells the same story on the commentary track, as an example of what an insightful director he is and how good he is at dealing with these dumb, self-involved actors. So it was revealing to see the movie again and realize that he’s wrong. No, dude, you don’t get it. He’s not doing that to show off his muscles, he’s doing it because it’s funny. I know it’s not about a straight dude being mistaken for gay or a black person yelling hysterically, but I contend that it is funny and does not seem to show very much muscle anyway.

I have to admit I’m not a fan of older Sean Connery. He was a good James Bond but even in his INDIANA JONES I don’t find him as charming as everybody else seems to. Of course DRAGONHEART and THE LEAGUE OF THE EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN didn’t do much for me either. I forget, was he any good in ENTRAPMENT? I guess I don’t remember much about that movie. I mean there’s one or two scenes I can remember off the top of my head. Actually, just one.

still_entrapment
I’m not sure why it stuck in my head, just a random part. It’s funny the things that stick with you, isn’t it? No rhyme or reason to it, really.

So I guess I feel about Connery the way he did about THE MATRIX and LORD OF THE RINGS: I don’t get it. I mean it’s a pretty good character, he has an interesting background, does a couple cool tricks. I like when he gets cleaned up like a James Bond. (Sorry CJ, the long hair looks terrible on him.) And actually I dug the part where you realize he escaped from custody not to try to get away but to see his daughter for a minute. And I like the nice thing that Goodspeed does to help him save face in front of her. See, you can see that Bay has changed over the years, because back then he actually put one genuine moment of emotion in a movie. He probly cringes every time he thinks about it. But other than that part I don’t see alot of chemistry between this pair. And the guy’s a chemist, he should know how this works.

I remember seeing THE ROCK years ago, before I really started to analyze movies. All my buddies thought it was awesome, I didn’t get that into it, I wasn’t sure why. When I saw ARMAGEDDON that was the first time I became aware of fast editing and how disorienting it is when done badly, and I wondered if maybe that was my problem with THE ROCK. So it was interesting to go back and see the movie again to find out.

The most memorable action scene is the car chase when Connery escapes to meet his daughter. Sure enough the editing is fast, but I think the real problem is a lack of fluidity. In some shots you can see where the cars are located and which direction they’re going, but the next shot won’t show them or will have them obscured or not flow smoothly. There’s just not a clear continuity. And it keeps cutting to wobbly seaskick closeups of the actors inside the cars.

The chase is pure Bay: they “wrecked half the city,” a yellow Ferrari chases a Humvee, the Hummer even plows through a VW Beatle with a peace sign on the side. Yeah, fuck you, hippies. You’re probly the reason that army guy had to steal those missiles somehow, I bet.

There are some weird little details, almost FREEBIE AND THE BEAN style, like a shot of three guys in wheelchairs crossing the street, and somebody wearing a really fake old lady Halloween costume almost getting run over. But because the chase is already so sloppy I think these details confuse things as much as they add flavor. They’re shot just as messily as the rest of the chase and as if of equal importance. I do like the part where one of the cars plows down a row of parking meters, causing splashes of quarters to fly through the air. That’s a cool image.

Maybe the other biggest action scene is when they’re under Alcatraz and they have a shootout on a big set with rolling mine carts and little things that hang off like an amusement park ride or a video game. It reminded me of the Goonies or something. Not my kind of thing. So even though this has some of the things I look for in an action movie, good action is unfortunately not one of them.

When John Spencer’s character knows he has to deal with this terrorism he calls in the experts, the best people he knows of to get the job done. So there’s the SEALs and the chemist and the guy that knows Alcatraz and a backup team from the Air Force and even still they run into alot of problems. Bruckheimer and Simpson (this was their last movie together; Simpson died during post-production) take a similar approach. They don’t want an artist telling a story, they want a team of experts putting together a package. So they have this script by David Weisberg, Douglas Cook and Mark Rosner that nobody’s satisfied with, they let Cage rewrite his part, let Connery bring in his writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, get Jonathan Hensleigh to do an uncredited rewrite, and also Aaron Sorkin, and also Quentin Tarantino.

Unlike in CRIMSON TIDE it’s hard to tell which parts Tarantino wrote. I guess people assume it’s the adrenaline shot to the heart and the Mexican standoff, but those seem too generic and obvious. If that’s all he did then he was really cashing in there.

With Sorkin I think I can guess. The speech Ed Harris makes to his soldiers and the one the president makes before authorizing bombing the island are vintage heartswelling West Wing type shit. He probly wrote that they’d be walking down hallways while saying them, but Bay doesn’t read stage directions unless it’s “the camera spins dizzily around them as they say this.”

The cast of supporting actors is a hell of a compilation too. They got David Morse (16 BLOCKS), William Forsythe (OUT FOR JUSTICE), Michael Biehn (ALIENS), John C. McGinley (ON DEADLY GROUND), Tony Todd (CANDYMAN), Bokeem Woodbine (BLADE: THE SERIES), Marshall Teague (SPECIAL FORCES), Tom Towles (HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER), Jim Caviezel (HIGHWAYMEN), Xander Berkeley (T2), Raymond Cruz (THE SUBSTITUTE), John Enos III (MISSIONARY MAN) and Philip Baker Hall (HARD EIGHT). And probly one or two other guys.

A big part of the studio action movie feel is the big ass score by Nick Glennie-Smith (FIRE DOWN BELOW) and Hans Zimmer. Sometimes I wish they would chill out for a minute and let a movie happen, but for the most part I gotta respect this score. It’s one of those action movie scores that makes you feel like you’re supposed to stand up and put your hat over your heart. It has a theme song that’s catchy and emotional in a way that it seems like nobody makes anymore. Almost like a bigger, more orchestral version of the BETTER TOMORROW theme. I had it going through my head all day after watching this.

The best part of the movie, the part most worthy of that theme song, is not either of the heroes – it’s the villain, Ed Harris’s character Hummel. So let’s look at him a little closer.

He’s a very original villain. The movie starts out with him, as if he’s the hero. He gets the same kind of just-how-badass-is-he? explanation as Casey Ryback: “Three tours in Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Desert Storm, three purple hearts, two silver stars and the Congressional medal of– Jesus. This man is a hero.”

He’s a real ball buster who shouts “identify yourself!” to people and buries his wife with a tombstone that says “HIS WIFE” at the top. But his sense of honor is the real deal. DIE HARD introduced the fake terrorist, the villains who pretend to be for a cause but are actually in it for money. This continued in DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD and UNDER SIEGE. The bad guys aren’t really “terrorists” so much as ransomers. Hummel actually is a terrorist, he’s using terror to achieve a political goal. He’s demanding ransom but he really intends to give it to the families of deceased soldiers, fulfilling the government’s broken promise to them.

There are precedents for this type of villain. Gary Oldman in AIR FORCE ONE, for example, is more wicked than Hummel, but is genuinely doing it for a cause he believes in, not for money. What’s truly unique about Hummel (SPOILER) is that he turns out to be bluffing! In most action movies a villain might seem to have some sense of honor, but when the chips are down they’d show their true colors which would turn out to be evil and/or cowardly colors. Not Hummel. He goes as far as he can go without killing people and when it doesn’t work he is prepared to fold his cards. It’s only because he has some asshole mercenaries under his wing (I’m looking at you, Candyman) that the threat turns real. So that makes him a really interesting character. Another thing you can’t expect anymore these days.

After so many years of big and pretty but sloppy and poorly planned action movies I’m able to sort of appreciate this movie better, even though it is the actual specific movie that I think started the modern movement of big and pretty but sloppy and poorly planned action movies. Didn’t Alanis Morrissette sing some song about that? Unfortunately it’s a buddy action movie where I can’t appreciate the action or one out of two buddies. So I can’t agree with its canonization as a ’90s action classic. But with layered Ed Harris, funny Nic Cage and a thick macho tone I can appreciate it as some bullshit that frequently transcends its shittiness. I kinda like it now. I probly won’t even wait the ten years or whatever to watch it a third time.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 at 1:04 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

107 Responses to “The Rock”

  1. sorry guys, I can’t resist getting the first comment on this

  2. Oh man I can’t agree with Vern about Sean Connery. The two actors I miss making movis the most is Connery and Gene Hackman. Gene Hackman needs to come out of retirement somehow.

  3. In this case I even agree with you about the long hair. Sean Connery is no Sam Elliot, Rick Baker or evil dad from the HARRY POTTER movies, when it comes to long, grey/white hair. But that’s okay, because he is Sean Connery.

  4. I know it’s a cliche to Bay bash here, but this was my very first exposure to Michael Bay, I rented it on video as a kid when it first came out and I was promptly confused and bored, I soon turned it off (which was rare for me to do back then)

    then later I rented Armageddon and though I watched the whole thing, even at 9 years old I thought it was dumb

    not to toot my own horn, but I had good taste in movies as a kid, I loved Spielberg, I loved Terminator 1 and 2, I loved Alien and Aliens and I could tell when a movie was poorly made (for example I promptly turned off Sphere after only like 20 minutes)

  5. This is a Michael Bay film that really emphasizes his strengths and minimizes his weaknesses. Great action, great score, great performances. I really enjoy this one. And good god I could stare at that picture for days.

  6. I didn’t like THE ROCK when it came out, and I think it was because I thought the action was kind of choppy and didn’t really show me enough to give me my fix. I remember the mine cart scene being a bunch of gibberish. in those days, I actually expected an action movie to deliver, you know, ACTION. It was a more innocent time. So I wrote off THE ROCK and went through a phase where I didn’t like Bay anymore, until BAD BOYS II came out and I realized that there was something deeply wrong with the man, something that required further study. So I watched THE ROCK again and liked it a lot, mostly for Cage, Harris, and the truly epic supporting cast. The action was still kinda weak, though. In many ways, it’s Bay’s best movie, but it’s also his least impressive as far as spectacle goes. Strange. Maybe he needs to think smaller. When’s that bodybuilding comedy coming out?

  7. “(What happens to the hostages, by the way? Did they ever show them again in the movie? Was there a whole other movie going on about them trying to escape? Even at the end Cage tells the brass that they’re all okay, but I don’t think he actually lays eyes on a single one of them. Kinda weird.)”
    And doesn’t Goodspeed fail to stop the airstrike that was supposed to kill them all, only for us to be told the explosion MISSED them anyway?
    A weird detail I remember about Connery’s character is that his daughter says he met her mother at a Led Zeppelin concert, which I just can’t see with that character at all.

  8. Gene Hackman absolutely needs to come back for at least one more film. He can’t seriously cap his tremendous career with WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT.

    As for THE ROCK. I love it without reservations. It’s got Bay’s best qualities and mostly none of his worst. The cast is stellar, the action explosive, the script snappy, and the score is indeed awesome.

    And speaking of the script. Yes, it is a product, tailor made rather than written organically. But like the other memorable 90’s Bruckheimer production, CRIMSON TIDE, it benefited from all the various writers that contributed to it.

    I managed to track down the original script(s) for the film. The first version is basically boring, meandering shit that I’m sure Bruckheimer bought it on the concept alone (hey, what is someone has to break *in* to Alcatraz). The near total rewrite, which is 90% Hensleigh, only benefited the film. I admit that the final result is at times a bit uneven and you can sometimes see each writer’s personal handiwork – like the Tarantino written sub movie quizzing in CRIMSON TIDE, or the Sorkin written now-you’re-been-told-by-a-man-with-a-gun exchange here – but there’s definite deftness and energy present.

    I guess the only noteworthy thing that was lost during all the various punch ups and additions was the reasoning behind the oddly specific shopping list Connery gives before the mission. In the Hensleigh script, it kind of makes tenuous sense, but it’s such a bizarre, MacGyver moment in the film that doesn’t really go anywhere.

    Still, Bay really needs to get another dream team of scriptwriters together to guide him through a sharp, well-paced film. He’s been lost in the bland, nonsensical limbo of Kurtzman and Orci for four movies now.

  9. This movie is a juggernaut of astonishment. Michael Bay’s fluke. Well ok the first BAD BOYS was ok too so he has 2 watchable movies. Ed Harris killed this shit like a dope MC over The Symphony beat.

  10. Ed Harris truly is the Craig G of actors: often overlooked amongst his flashier contemporaries, but his fundamentals are solid.

  11. It’s going to drive me nuts that I can’t remember but I swore I read that the stuff you’d think Tarantino did in Crimson Tide he had nothing to do with at all. I think he wrote more technical jargon stuff.

  12. I really like this movie. There are so many little touches that go a long way. This is also the rare movie where every single actor sticks in my head. All of the bad guy mercenaries are memorable and so is almost everyone else.

    I don’t want to oversell it or anything but I think this movie is pretty special in terms of 90s action movies because I can’t remember another action movie from that decade that didn’t have any throw away meat bags.

    Also, I was a teenager when Entrapment came out and I remember that being one of the first movie trailers you could see online. The trailer for Entrapment includes the scene you talk about and it defines my teenage years in a very profound way.

  13. Also, Vern, you have reviewed back to back Nic Cage movies and another movie with the word Bangkok in it. Any chance you’re going to review Bangkok Dangerous next? That one looked so bad I ended up missing it despite loving Nic Cage.

  14. I haven’t seen this movie in quite some time, but I remember enjoying it, even if I blanched at some of the more off the wall stuff, like the Connery line “I’m only borrowing your Humvee.” Maybe Bay just needs a good handler. He’s become too powerful for his own good. These days he has been given carte blanche by the studios and he just doesn’t know what to do with it, so he tries to do everything all at once.

  15. The best thing I can say about The Rock is that I liked it when it came out.

    The worst thing I can say about The Rock is that I was 13 years old when it came out.

  16. “not to toot my own horn, but I had good taste in movies as a kid, I loved Spielberg, I loved Terminator 1 and 2, I loved Alien and Aliens and I could tell when a movie was poorly made (for example I promptly turned off Sphere after only like 20 minutes)”

    It sounds like, as a kid, you had the taste of a child. I mean no offense but the horn you think you’re tooting is a rather universal and blockbusting horn.

  17. I agree that Harris’ character is genuinely deep and interesting. I love when he’s losing control of the situation, when Tony Todd is starting to threaten his command, and he shouts “I said stand down, captain!” and you hear a little flutter in his voice when he says ‘captain’ – for the first time in the movie you can tell he knows this is all about to go to shit and he’s actually scared. Nice work, Harris. This actually might be his best work, honestly.

    Is it the Criterion version you reviewed, Vern? Did you watch the outtakes? They are pretty hilarious – Ed Harris really loses his cool when he keeps flubbing lines on the phone to the guys at the Pentagon; at one point, he yells at a crew member or someone smoking on set (“Hey, what are doin?!! You doin’ smoke??! Nothing personal, but JESUS CHRIST!!!”) There’s also an improvised Nic Cage ‘goofy’ moment that Michael Bay obviously cut out cuz he thought it was dumb (it’s presented in the outtakes like he slipped, but I think Cage says on the commentary that he did it intentionally to make Stanley look aloof and clumsy.)

  18. Of all Michael Bay’s films, this is the one I genuinely like and enjoy. Vern, most if not all of your criticisms are dead-on (especially Bay’s love of effeminate and/or gay men in “comedic” moments) but the actors involved really elevate everything here for me. Harris acts like he’s in a prestige pic, not some summer lark, and as you note the role itself is genuinely interesting. Cage hadn’t yet fully entered his late-stage-Elvis phase, with all that mega-acting in service of truly godawful projects, and is amusingly offbeat for an “action hero”. Like you I’m not enamored of Connery, but unlike you i enjoy his interplay with Cage. Then there’s the murderer’s row of talent in the supporting roles.

    Hell – think I’ll go set the DVR.

  19. I liked “Entrapment.” The whole fin de siecle theme. And not just for Zeta-Jones’ ass. Does that make me weird?

    But Ving Rhames plays the same damn character he played in Mission Impossible: get-fancy-spy-items-for-shady-characters guy.

    They should have a spin off movie of this Ving Rhames character. You know, the mandatory cocky, too-cool-for-school guy who shows up in a lot of movies, sometimes not Ving Rhames, who is the go-to guy for weird gear.

    The tension of the movie would just be these asshole-ish demands random shady characters are always making of him: “Get me a minisubmarine in Stockhom in 24 hours!” “Get me half a pound of C4 molded in the shape of a Ming Dynasty Vase in Rio on Wednesday!” Catty assistant. Creepy subcontractors for really strange materials and equipment.

    How he deals with these logistical issues with difficulties and surprises and twists but wins the day by the skin of his teeth regardless. Superlogistics man. Big stars show up for cameos.

    I’d see that movie!

  20. I didn’t like this when it came out, found the action choppy and unexciting, etc., but the thing that really soured it for me, if I’m remembering correctly, is the scene when Cage has to enter true manhood by killing somebody. That was a terminal shift from enjoyable-stupid to toxic-stupid. Not that I was enjoying myself before, but you get the drift. I went from being annoyed at Michael Bay to being mad at the shmuck. Like he knows from killing someone.

    Not that I’m suggesting that Bay should go out and shoot somebody because it might help him make better movies. That would be the wrong conclusion to draw.

  21. I absolutely hated this movie on the big screen, but it plays OK on TV. I still think Bad Boys is the only good Michael Bay movie, as it’s the only one I could sit through in a theater without getting a mammoth headache…for the record, I realize Bad Boys is a crappy movie, but I saw it 3 times in the theater (because we had a discount theater and there was nothing else to do). Also, it was amusing to me, a drunk college in the state capitol, because our current governor was “Mike Lowry” and Will Smith’s character was “Mike Lowery”, so you got an extra giggle every time someone commented on what a badass “Lowery/Lowry” was or how all the ladies loved him (because, let’s face it, our Lowry looked like some kind of freakish man-toad)…

  22. er “drunk college student” not “drunk college”…

  23. Casey – damn, I thought I had reviewed BANGKOK DANGEROUS. It’s pretty bad but there’s at least one good action scene and an absolutely classic weirdo Cage scene where he eats spicy soup while constantly narrating what he’s doing and how it feels in his mouth.

  24. I’m so glad Vern finally watched this. It’s the Vern review I’ve been waiting for.

    The Rock remains one of my favorite action movies and holds up as well today as it originally did. I’m glad Vern saw what I saw in Hummell, and Cage but I think you left out one awesome detail. Goodspeed didn’t like to swear, so he says things like “A-hole” and “Zeus’s butthole” that are so much more effective. I think he only says shit when he’s repeating a bad guy’s own line at him.

    Yes, one of my favorite action movies has mediocre action. I just care so much about the characters, I’ll watch them in the mine carts or rolling through the fire. I like the part where Cage shoots a guy’s feet too. That’s clever.

    I think Connery plays Mason like the ultimate macho swagger. He’s just having fun because he’s been in prison for 30 years. This movie was supposed to be “Die Hard in Alcatraz.” The noble villain, the badass who really just wants to see his daughter, the hero who just thinks it’s all ridiculous, takes it way beyond.

  25. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 18th, 2011 at 1:09 am

    I always liked the idea of Alcatraz being like some kind of Temple of Doom theme park. They should make more prisons like this, then film the inmates trying to escape. I’d buy that for a dollar.

  26. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that Sean Connery is overrated. That’s just not okay.

    Just the other day I was thinking, what if you could shave 30 years off of one actor’s age, who would you pick? I would pick either Harrison Ford or Sean Connery. Maybe Christopher Walken. Or Bruce Campbell.

    Probably Connery though.

  27. For me Bad Boys is Bay’s best, not saying much i know but I think his ‘style’ suits that more than a dumb movie with a somewhat seriously motivated antagonist. When I first watched The Rock I hated Harris’ performance… it seemed to me like he no idea what kind of film he was in and was taking things waaay too seriously.

    Towards the end though I could see how he had no choice but to play the character that way. After rewatching I’d agree that Harris’ performance is great it just seems to belong in a different film to me, along with the semi-serious politics.

    Maybe a better director would have balanced it more evenly so you could have Cage in his underwear or that weird blowjob scene I think I remember and Ed Harris’ character in the same movie.

    And I also think Connery is way overrated too. The Bond films do nothing for me, The Untouchables was good but c’mon, he was Irish? Highlander is one of the longest 100 minute movies I’ve ever seen but he was good in that I guess. Indy was a bit against type for him but he did ok there… nothing to put him with the greats in my opinion guys.

  28. Yeah, didn’t pick up on this in the comments but might have missed it. *SPOILER*

    The bad guys in Die Hard 3 were bluffing too right? Damn, I loved that movie up until the Nova Scotia bit and that dumb bit with the water tunnel. The movie should have ended with Mclane NOT catching the bad guy and just surviving, ending with him on the phone to Holly.

    Would have been a pretty bold move to do that from the studio and the story would have required some tweaking to make it totally work but it would have been more memorable 16 years or so later perhaps.

  29. Now more people are hating on Connery? What’s the world coming to?

  30. I can see how Connery might have squandered a lot of his reputation with his last few years of blatant paycheck movies, but THE UNTOUCHABLES is, well, untouchable. Here endeth the lesson.

  31. Check my memory, but when I try to remember what gave me a headache about this movie, I conclude that it was the score. Not so much that the music itself was good or bad, but rather that it was bombastic and incessant. It’s like a character would say, “Hey, I need to run to the bathroom” and then the Dramatic Holy Men’s Choir™ score would crank-up as if we were on a countdown to arma…oh no I di’int. Anyway, I remember full-blown car chase music for when people were just walking down a hall. I’m sorry if I’m getting the movie wrong, but I’m pretty sure it was The Rock. The movie would just never shut-up.

  32. Surprised to see no love or even mention of the iconic washroom scene, my favorite in this movie.

  33. Jareth Cutestory

    August 18th, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Casey: Cage’s version of BANGKOK DANGEROUS really isn’t that bad. It’s boring and unnecessary, like the US version of JU-ON, but not offensive and awful, like the US version of KAIRO. Stylistically, it benefits from having the Pang Brothers on board. Cage is in sleepwalk-mode, like in KNOWING, but the film at least has a tangible sense of place thanks to the casting and filmatism. Obviously your time would be much better spent watching Oxide Pang’s ONE TAKE ONLY, which is superior in every way.

    (When I saw the US version of JU-ON in the theater, whenever a tense moment occured some nitwit in the audience started shrieking: “Here come The Grudge! Here come The Grudge!” That sucked.)

    Mike A.: I’m not a big Connery fan either, though I think that his presence is far more crucial to his successful films than Mel Gibson’s presence is in his films. UNTOUCHABLES loses something without Connery, while I think that MAD MAX would be fine with another actor (and LETHAL WEAPON would be better with another actor).

    The problem with Connery is that you’re getting the same thing from him in each performance, at least as far as I can tell. What you’re getting, of course, is a whole lot of charisma and charm, which is fine for the kinds of films he makes, but it’s not particularly engaging after you’ve sat through it for the nth time.

  34. Jareth – I guess you’re right about Connery doing almost exactly the same thing in every role, but there is a limited group of actors where I don’t have a problem with that. Another example would be Sam Jackson or Denzel. Sure they mix it up sometimes but mostly their acting style and the way they talk is pretty much the same. Still I never get tired of them.

    Just curious, what actor would you have cast in Lethal Weapon instead of Gibson? Personally I can’t think of a better guy for the job (yep I’m a Gibson fan as well, no matter how crazy he gets in real life).
    are th

  35. For decades, Mel Gibson perfectly served as the surrogate for the audience’s repressed anger, allowing us the catharsis of letting out our righteous rage without any of the repercussions. And he did it while still maintaining a level or humor and romance that made him more than just a blunt instrument. That’s why no one could have done the role of Riggs better: He was sad, funny, sexy, and totally nuts. Sadly, none of us ever wondered why he could play that role so well. But the fact that the anger he portrayed so well onscreen is a real part of his personality doesn’t change the solid work that he did. Simply put, no one does movie rage better.

    He would have made a great Wolverine.

  36. “They should have a spin off movie of this Ving Rhames character. You know, the mandatory cocky, too-cool-for-school guy who shows up in a lot of movies, sometimes not Ving Rhames, who is the go-to guy for weird gear.”
    Like Dennis Rodman in DOUBLE TEAM?

  37. Mr Cutestory, I feel that we might almost be totally opposite. I think Cage is hilarious in Knowing. I also think the American version of Ju-On is better because, if for nothing else, it’s shorter. Hell, I’ll even go out and say that the American Ring is superior since it doesn’t spend all its time with people in a well. Actually, that’s not fair as the American Ring is legitimately good and scary.

    I don’t see how someone could say Cage was in sleepwalk mode in Knowing, though. I thought he was playing a depressed alcoholic who gets caught up in stuff about solar flares and planes crashing and people being on fire. For me that movie goes from harrowing and shocking to unintentionally hilarious and I think it’s just a great experience even if some of my enjoyment comes from laughing at the movie.

  38. Shit, now I gotta see KNOWING. Ebert’s four-star review made me chalk it up as one of Roger’s periodic free passes for sci-fi movies that aren’t really all that great but they don’t have lasers in them so they must be intelligent, like DARK CITY. But “from harrowing and shocking to unintentionally hilarious” sounds like exactly what I need from Cage. I think he’s been in sleepwalk mode too much lately so I’d be pretty psyched to see him put a little extra sauce on there. That’s what we pay him for.

  39. Wow, that would’ve been incredible – Mel as Wolverine. Totally would’ve worked. I love that idea so much it is physically making me sad that we never got it.

    Kudos, Mr M.

    And Naughty Jareth, saying LETHAL WEAPON without Mel would be better!

    You should be made to watch it over and over until you achieve the enlightment the rest of us here have.

    (Only joking, bro. There’s nothing but love on this site.)

  40. Mr. M, KNOWING is pretty great. It is not that it is an amazing film as much as it is a crazy film for a big studio release. It feels like the type of science fiction films they made back in the 70’s.

  41. Jareth Cutestory

    August 18th, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Let me go all Paul on you guys: I think LETHAL WEAPON is a pretty awful script. Lord knows I’ve tried to enjoy it, but it just doesn’t work for me. I find it as cumbersome and overblown as the worst Shane Black scripts but with none of the crazy. And Donner is pretty pedestrian in his directing on this one.

    I think the only way to salvage LETHAL WEAPON would be to have Lance Henricksen in Gibson’s role. That would have been awesome. If they were legitimately going for a disturbed character, Gibson’s acting is paper thin compared to what Henricksen would have brought to the role.

    If they were just going for more standard action film stuff, I think Bruce Willis or Kurt Russell would have done a better job in this one (or for that matter in any of Gibson’s roles). Or Brad Dourif. Back when LETHAL WEAPON was made, Dourif was just one shaving-accident away from looking like Health Ledger’s Joker. That’s the kind of crazy cop I tend to prefer.

    But hey, no offence intended to Gibson fans. I just can’t get into his stuff.

    Majestyk: I don’t know what Ebert was thinking with that KNOWING review. It might be better going into the film thinking of it as a fair-to-middling Chris Carter pilot that never went to series. But then I don’t think DARK CITY is all that great either, so maybe you’ll dig it as much as Ebert did.

  42. Great review Vern. I love THE ROCK. However, I do think it represents a tipping point in modern action cinema. I noticed some hip hop comparisons used earlier in this discussion, and I am going to borrow that idea for a moment. Bay is the P Diddy of action cinema. I have already spent a lot of time in other threads discussing Bay’s disregard for the cinematic language so I will only briefly touch on it here but Bay is more concerned about the look and style of his films then things like character development, pacing or a coherent narrative. Also, Bay is the star of all his films, or at least he is in his mind. His films may feature movie stars but it is his visual flair with disorienting camera moves, quick cuts, and that glossy finish is what people pay to see. The financial success of his work spawned imitators and in some ways seemed to justify his disregard for the elements of the cinematic language he did not want to be bothered with. P Diddy’s star also rose in the 90’s. Like Bay he showed a disregard for the fundamentals of his craft. Diddy, was not concerned about things like lyrics or substance, it was all about the glossy production and sound. Also, like Bay he loomed larger then life over any record he was involved in even if he did not rap on it his finger prints were all over it. A P Diddy production was unmistakable. As a producer he would at least do an intro at the beginning of the song and/or drop some adlibs throughout it, and you could guarantee that he would be prominently featured dancing in the video. Like Bay in Diddy’s mind he was always the star. Similar to Bay Diddy’s success seemed to justify his choices and spawned numerous imitators. Both Bay and Diddy have made a lot of money, been wildly influential and continue to be successful to this day. However, they are also both responsible for making some of the most shallow, ignorant, and self indulgent entertainment their industries have ever seen.

  43. Jareth – those are very interesting choices for the part of Riggs.

    Lance Henriksen would’ve been very intriguing, and I always thought Kurt Russell sort of played a more upbeat variant of Riggs in the mighty TANGO AND CASH.

    Speaking of interesting actors, I recently saw the trailer to a 1991 LW rip-off called TO DIE STANDING, starring Cliff DeYoung in the “grizzled cop” role.

    I mean, Cliff De Young!

  44. Jareth: I never said I liked DARK CITY. I don’t, particularly. I just used it as an example of a supposedly serious sci-fi movie that Ebert wildly overpraised.

  45. DARK CITY is such a strange duck. There is so much I like about it yet it never really works for me. I was disappointed that the director’s cut didn’t really do much to improve the film.

    karlos: Do you prefer TANGO & CASH to LETHAL WEAPON? God help me, I might prefer TANGO & CASH.

    Apparently TANGO & CASH was heavily cut for release in Germany. I wonder if they cut the violence or the references to dicks.

    Between TANGO & CASH and RUNAWAY TRAIN it kind of amazes me that Andrei Konchalavsky wasn’t given better films to work with. He certainly demonstrated that he knows how to stage action.

    I also wonder if Cliff DeYoung playing a grizzled cop is anything like Dennis DeYoung playing a credible rock star.

  46. I can’t be a hundred percent certain, but I’m pretty sure when Ebert gave it four stars he was reviewing a rough cut of the film which contained only the plane crash scene and not the other 120 minutes. Just a hunch, but I think when you watch the film, Majestyk, you’ll see the evidence is pretty strong for that hypothesis.

  47. I had the theater standee of Connery, Cage and Harris in my living room for over 3 yrs until my pit bull barrelled into it one night, effectively destroying it. I too think this is Michael Bay’s best movie. It’s a shame too because he could’ve been a great action director if he didn’t have his head so far up his ass.

  48. Jareth – man, that’s a tough one.

    It’s like choosing my favourite bemulleted child.

  49. Between TANGO & CASH and RUNAWAY TRAIN? There’s a whoooole lot of stuff in between those. Tango and Cash is really one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

  50. Ebert just has a thing for Proyas movies, they connect with him on a level they don’t for everybody else. But I like that. I like Proyas movies too and I’m glad there’s somebody out there who likes them way more than I do.

    I think you have to see Knowing Mr. M. I think there’s a good chance you will love it, but not in the same way Ebert does. I see it as a smart and daring sci-fi movie unethically crossbred with a moronic studio one. It’s basically both sides of Nicolas Cage combined into one and at any moment you don’t know which Cage it’s gonna turn into. It starts with an enjoyable but stupid Twilight Zone type of premise, surprises you with a couple intense and effective set pieces, then at some point tricks you into going down paths where you will eventually turn around and wonder how the fuck you got where you are. It’s an admirably insane version of a studio sci-fi blockbuster.

  51. Mr. Doctor: What I meant is that Konchalavsky stages the action exceptionally well in TANGO & CASH, regardless of your opinion of the script, the acting, the homoeroticism or the mullets. His RUNAWAY TRAIN is even more impressive, so impressive that I wonder why he ended up working in television. Any number of 1990s action films would have benefitted from his direction.

  52. Didn’t Konchalavsky directed that NUTCRACKER 3D movie, that gloriously tanked last year?

  53. TANGO & CASH never places quite as high as I would like on those ten year Sight & Sound polls. I’m hoping next year is the one though.

  54. Jareth – I wondered that, too. Konchalavsky delivered two very good – and different flavored – action movies with T&C and RUNAWAY TRAIN.

    According to his autobiography (which Vern quoted from in his T&C review), Konchalavsky had a rough time of it whilst directing T&C – perhaps something to do with that whole experience colored his view of directing movies or maybe he – rightly or wrongly – took the blame for whatever transpired.

    Y’know, the bit in T&C where the Russian guy gets his car smashed to bits and is all upset and Cash just says, “Welcome to America?” – that’s like a microcosm for Konchalavsky’s experiences making the film.

  55. “Here comes The Grudge.” That’s hilarious. Way better than the croaking noise.

    The Rock may indeed be one of those good movies that bears responsibility for all the evil that followed. Like you’d say about Paul Greengrass, only I don’t even think his “good” movies are good. But even if Bourne Supremacy worked for people, he’s responsible for all the Salts of the world.

    I thought the same about Scary Movie 1. Scary Movie was a great spoof of that era’s horror movies, using the plots of two movies to poitn out how ridiculous they were. I thought that was the second coming of Naked Gun. Instead, everything that followed, including all the Scary sequels, were just the Epic Movie variety of “Let’s redo this, only now his shirt says DON’T Vote for Pedro, instead of Vote for Pedro!”

  56. Well I agree that “Bad Boys” is Bay’s best, whatever that means. “Pearl Harbor” comes in second, I guess. (Disclaimer: I am in no way endorsing “Pearl Harbor” with that comment.) There are parts of both movies that work. (Nor that one.) And yeah, I can dig the hell out of the first forty minutes or so of “Armageddon” before it becomes “Orchestras in Space”.

    “The Rock”… yeah, it’s not as bad as “Transformers” or “Bad Boys 2”. It’s firmly in the middle rank of Bay movies, and that is all I have to say that’s positive. It takes a special kind of talent to use in a movie the one man who escaped Alcatraz, a renegade general holding chemical weapons hostage, a whole bunch of car chases, etc, and make them as uninteresting as this movie was for me. “Executive Decision” took the same story and IMO did it much, much better than “The Rock” did.

  57. Is EXECUTIVE DECISION worth revisiting? The memory I have of it is that it was the single most boring action movie ever made.

  58. Mr. M, I tried to watch EXECUTIVE DECISION again about a year or so ago, and didn’t even bother to finish it. I would not call it a bad movie, but it is not very action packed. It is crazy to think an action film that stars Seagal & Russel could be so underwhelming in the action department.

  59. Zombie Paul, I love THE ROCK & don’t mind ARMAGEDDON, but I do not like any of Bay’s other films. BAD BOYS may be his most toned down visually because it is his first film, and it that regard maybe it is his best film. However, I find BAD BOYS lacks the spectacle of most of Bay’s work, and I always felt that there was something stereotypical and almost hateful about Smith & Laurence’s characters. They are portrayed as crass buffoons who’s shout half their dialog and mug for the camera. I am not going to say that there is something racists about Smith & Laurence’s characters, but there is something ignorant and damaging about them. At the very least they fuel the flames of negative stereo types, and only help to perpetuate them.

  60. EXECUTIVE DECISION is indeed shit.

    When Steve gets sucked out of the plane he took any and all potential excitement out with him.

  61. Damn, didn’t expect this much negativity to “Executive Decision”. Gotta be honest, I liked this one a lot more than you guys did, but then a lot of people here kinda like “The Rock”. So what do you do?

    Charles – I find the racism of Bad Boys to be a positive thing. It means that I can always tell who the villains are (white Europeans) and the good guys (black Americans). Actually being able to recognise characters in a movie between the three-second cuts during action sequences is generally more than I expect from a late Michael Bay movie.

  62. And I don’t think “Executive Decision” is as much an action movie as it is a straight suspense thriller. In that aspect it succeeded, for the most part, for me.

    I regard Seagal’s untimely exit-by-suck a karmic retribution for “The Patriot”.

  63. Jareth Cutestory

    August 18th, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Apprently the guys who wrote EXECUTIVE DECISION also wrote PREDATOR. They seem to get credit whenever the Predator character is used, whether in films or video games. They also wrote MISSION TO MARS and WILD WILD WEST.

  64. Jareth – well then it’s quite clear that they are incapable of making a bad movie! My point is completely validated!

  65. Executive Decision was all about tension and it builds that tension beautifully.

    I always thought it would be funny to do a spoof of Executive Decision in a ValueJet. Remember those? Just have the military guys hiding in a corner in the back where everyone could totally see them. Whenever one of them talks, the leader would go “Shh!” because they were waiting to plan the right moment to take out the terrorists. But ValueJet no longer exists and no one remembers Executive Decision, so the time for that has passed.

  66. Another vote for Bad Boys as Bay’s least worst film. It’s his shortest film by almost 20 minutes so there is less of the bloated Bay B.S. which has occupied his more recent films. The action is coherent and exciting. The humor in the movie actually works at times & helps to balance out the action scenes.

  67. Ronald – growing up in the 90’s there were countless shitty kid’s movies about animals playing sports or escaping from somewhere or some shit like that

    I hated ALL of those movies as a kid, I had a rule of thumb that if a movie revolved around an animal it was shit, I also learned that just about any kid’s movie about sports was also shit (but I was never into sports anyway)

    I also didn’t like movies like Batman & Robin or the American Godzilla

    so give me credit where credit is due pal, most kids will just watch whatever shit you put in front of them, I was not like that, just because I didn’t watch movies like The 400 Blows as a kid doesn’t mean I had bad taste

  68. Fred Topel – I admit to liking Scary Movie as well, a big reason why is because of how pure, concentrated “the year 2000” the movie is if you know what I mean, everything about the movie, from the way it looks, to the style of humor, to the actors in it perfectly captures that era

    was Not Another Teen Movie supposed to be one of it’s spinoffs? if so that one is not half bad either, although a big part of what makes it great is Cerina Vincent’s nudity

    however EVERYTHING after those two movies is shit, especially the Friedberg and Seltzer joints

  69. Lenny – yeah, the bad guys in Die Hard 3 were bluffing when it came to blowing up the school, and the script takes great pains to point out that nobody was killed in the opening bank explosion or the subway crash (yeah right!) They did kill a bunch of cops though, but either way I’m sure their relative lack of bloodthirstiness led to the reshoot of the ending (the original Saw-esque ending didn’t fit very well since it’s weird McClane suddenly acts like he’s in a 70s revenge movie)

    As for The Rock, I never got over the fact that I liked Harris better than the heroes and wanted him to succeed. We know the hostages are forgotten about, but weren’t the families of the fallen soldiers forgotten about as well? While I was watching it, I expected an Escape from NY-esque ending where Connery or Cage says “screw you” to the system and somehow gets the soldiers’ families the money, but they’re just forgotten about too, right? And I still think it’s weird that “Hey honey, you want to know who really killed Kennedy?” is treated like a wacky punchline to end the movie.

  70. Griff, so you never saw Babe? :(

    Not Another Teen Movie was supposed to follow Scary, but it’s by different people. I remember hating it at the time because it did not live up to the promise of skewering teen movies. In post-Epic Movie retrospect, Not Another Teen looks pretty good. I liked the token black guy and the pie three way.

  71. I hope we have not oversold Knowing, Mr M. I know a big reason why I enjoyed it so much is because all I knew about it was the DVD cover and how rad that looked. But, Vern is right in that it manages to just be insane in so many special ways. Like, we can go into Cage’s performance or some of the action set pieces (which are all crazy) and not even scratch the hows and whys of that movie’s insanity. It’s special and I’m a little sad it isn’t better embraced. Hell, The Wicker Man seems better remembered than Knowing. Screw it, I think The Wicker Man is great. I’m a total sucker, though.

    Speaking of being a sucker, I also like Armageddon. I like it as in I watch it on TV once a year or so as it’s always on. I always enjoy it, too. Like, it’s not great or anything but it doesn’t bore me either. It’s also one of the few movies where Bay’s bombast fits the material. Like, I get it that he likes to swirl the camera at the actor from a position so that it’s looking up at them with something majestic / patriotic as a backdrop but that doesn’t work for every movie. It works for Armageddon.

    Or, I’m a sucker.

  72. Jareth Cutestory

    August 18th, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Nothing says “the year 2000” like a guy getting a dick in the ear. Pretty much describes my entire summer back in the day.

  73. Because, Casey, The Wicker Man has Nicolas Cage in a bear suit beating up women. Nothing will ever be more memorable than that, unless maybe he wears a zebra suit next time.

  74. There was a review with William Peter Blatty, writer of THE EXORCIST in a German magazine back in 2000,where he was also asked if there are any films that should be censored or banned in his opinion and his answer was: “Scary Movie, because it shows disgusting perverted behaviour in a way that the young audiences might find it cool and want to imitate it.”

  75. I always thought Mel Gibson would be the perfect Comedian in WATCHMEN. Wolverine is a good call too. He was too old for either role of course. Much harder to youngify somebody with makeup than it is to oldify them.

  76. Contrary to popular belief, Hummel is not the villain in this movie. Mason and Goodspeed are.
    The movie is about a possible threat to San Fransisco and while Hummel threatens, Mason are men of action and completely demolish the city in a pointless car chase that somehow manages to stop the story in it´s track for some gratuitous carnage. Thumbs up from me!

  77. It´s meant to read Mason and Goodspeed are men of action….

  78. GHOST RIDER 2 Trailer:
    http://youtu.be/ebCawfEnSWU
    He pees fire.

  79. That’s dangerous! Doesn’t he know that’s how you bring Freddy back to life?

  80. “Your best? Losers always complain about their best. Winners go home and fuck the Prom Queen.”

    Ladies and Gentlemen give it up for Mr. Quentin Tarantino.

  81. Knowing was Cage’s last major hit, for the record. It opened to mid-20s but did over 80 million total. 4x your opening weekend means that audiences liked the film.

  82. Wait…I thought it did like 21 million, it did 24.5 and 79 million total. Still, that’s not a bad multiplier, especially since it was a Summit release and they can’t bully theater owners the way Fox or Disney, for example, can.

  83. Looked over Cage’s IMDb. Between 2000-2010 he was in 19 live action movies in a major capacity. 10 of them were profitable. 4 of them were blockbusters grossing over 100 million in the US. 9 of them grossed over 100 million world-wide. 5 of them grossed over 200 million, (Knowing was close with 185 million, WTC did 165). 2 started franchises.

    On the whole, that’s pretty damn impressive. from 2000-2010 you had a 1/4 chance at grossing a quarter billion dollars if you put Cage as your lead.

    If you look at the last 5 years only, you’ll see that 5 out of of his 10 live action films made money. Ghost Rider, National Treasure 2, Knowing, Kick-ass and even Season of the Witch (which shockingly looks like it was a hit overseas.) 4 of those even grossed over 100 million. 2 of them over 200 million, both of which are franchise pictures…hypothetically 3 if they make Kick-Ass 2.

    Drive Angry, Bangkok Dangerous, Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Next were all total flops while Bad Lieutenant: Port Call of New Orleans was an artistically viable film that made money only for the producers who pre-sold the foreign rights.

    So surprisingly enough, Cage is actually STILL very consistent at the box office. 3 of his last 5 mainstream vehicles were profitable.

  84. Jareth Cutestory – nothing else says “the year 2000” more than a WAZZUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP spoof

    Fred Topel – yup, I’m afraid I missed Babe and it’s sequel because I thought it would be the same as every other animal movie, oh well….

  85. Speaking of all things Cage, I’ve just re-watched CON AIR.

    Funny stuff (it is, as others have stated, essentially a comedy) with an absolutely mindblowing manly man’s man of a cast.

    It felt like a Bay film and there were beats in there that were pure Bay, but the action was much better paced and breathed more – it was like Bay but at half speed. Not perfect but better.

    I think Simon West is a pretty decent choice for EXPENDABLES 2.

    BTW, Cage’s look in this – totally stolen from JCVD in HARD TARGET.

  86. Rainman – yeah, I think Mel’s name was thrown around in the build up to Watchmen casting. Geoffrey Dean Morgan did a great job though.

    Karlos – agreed, I think West has a good chance to surprise a lot of people with Expendables 2. Hope he delivers.

  87. Bullet points.
    1. I love the Rock. I loved it when it came out and I still love it. Cage and Connery are two of my favorites, and Ed Harris makes his villain layered, theres that great washroom scene somebody above mentioned, it’s just fun for me.
    2. marlow, is that fact that QT wrote that line? it’s been one of my more used movie quotes over the years.
    3. there are people who don’t like dark city? but…it’s dark city…i don’t understand. can someone please elaborate on their particular dislikes?
    4. Nicolas Cage related; who has seen the new Ghost Rider trailer and what think ye? looks better then the first at least, I think it brings the possibility of ‘fuck yeah’ but have to wait and see.

  88. Jsicfingers – GHOST RIDER 2 looks every bit as bug-nuts as I expected (and hoped).

    Still kind of amazed Marvel handed this to Neveldine/Taylor.

  89. Whoops – meant Jsixfingers! :)

  90. I’m more surprised that GHOST RIDER 2 looks like Neveldine/Taylor have learned how to use a camera. But who knows what the final film will look like?

  91. Aaron Sorkin? Really?

    I’ve been told both Sean Connery and Ed Harris, on seperate occasions, got so mad that they grabbed Bay and announced they were going to beat the shit out of him. It’s confirmed neither of them liked him–AT ALL–and did indeed lose their tempers rather spectacularly at certain points, but whether or not they actually threatened physical violence, I’ve never been able to find out for sure. I’m sure they’d both have a lot to talk about with Megan Fox, at the least.

    Whatever. The Rock is horrible fuckin’ movie and did major damage to American cinema.

    I consider THE ISLAND to be Bay’s least worst film, and that’s probably mostly due to Spielberg. Guy’s the anti-Orson Welles. He can’t direct, and they keep letting him make more movies.

  92. I’m loling picturing Sean Connery threatening Bay

  93. I try to imagine that, but I always picture Bay looking like Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek. I can’t help it.

  94. CJ Holden – me too

    “suck it Trebek, DO HO HO HO HO HO”

  95. My dad worked at the Fairmont hotel where they shot some of THE ROCK so he took me and my brother to a free screening for hotel employees at a big theater. I have to say what stood out for me wasn’t the action which was your typical loud, incomprehensible Michael Bay direction. It was Nic Cage being funny. I had never seen an action lead not be a badass and kind of goofy. His laying in a cell repeating a threat by one of the goons in the previous scene made me laugh so hard: “I’ll take pleasure in gutting you, BOY!”

  96. Exactly, Lawrence. I pointed out “Zeus’s butthole” above, which is from that same scene. And when he calls Connery A-hole after the big chase, that just takes all the macho bravado out of it.

    Now be sure to watch Vampire’s Kiss immediately if you haven’t already.

  97. I always thought Connery was playing a “what happened to Sean Connery’s James Bond” in this: Bond acquired the “sensitive” info, is automatically disavowed for by the Brits and held in maximum security by the feds ever since. Guess they got 008 to take down the rest of SPECTRE.

  98. I think it’s also worth examining how much the tangential San Fran car chase adds to The Rock and how little comparative scenes from Armageddon do.

    First of all, The Rock devotes a good chunk of the film to a side story about a main character. It’s got nothing to do with the hostage situation and it undermines Mason as a hero. He doesn’t want the McClane role. He says fuck all y’all congress. Then after chasing Mason across San Fran and giving him face in front of his daughter, Goodspeed shows what a gentleman and hero he is, even though he’s not admitting it to himself yet.

    Armageddon opens with Bruce chasing Affleck around an oil rig with a shotgun. It’s an artificial action scene because they need to have something before they go into space. It’s supposed to be fun and lighthearted because you know Bruce won’t really kill him, but it’s just sloppy nonsense. And Hensleigh wrote both I guess. That’ll remain a conundrum.

  99. I had a dream last night that I met Nicolas Cage and told him about this websight

  100. Nabroleon Dynamite

    August 24th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    If The Rock was in The Rock, The Rock would have Rocked!! (Both of them)

  101. Speaking of him, he’s in Michael’s new PAIN & GAIN, something that actually looks decent. It’s the low-budget film he’s been talking about doing for years (estimated at 20 mil, but still low for him).

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/pain-gain-trailer-mark-wahlberg-405287

  102. Hey, I mentioned the trailer in the Village Voice Film Poll comments. I thought it looked fairly interesting for Bay. If it’s shit at least it’s $20M of shit instead of $200M of shit.

  103. I think it looks like it has potential. The writers both worked on the NARNIA films and the Captain America movie (and it’s coming) sequel, but they also wrote YOU KILL ME which is a really good crime/comedy/thriller that this film seems to aspire to be. I haven’t seen TED yet, but the good will for it is telling me that Wahlberg is good at leading comedies now. And it’s really nice to see Dwayne get into meatier dramatic stuff (this and the coming SNITCH) instead of just acting with his muscles.

  104. I find it interesting that it’s set in 1995

  105. And set in Miami, too. And of course, starring The Rock.

  106. onthewall2983

    May 4th, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Saw PAIN & GAIN today. By no means am I a big fan of Michael’s work (I like THE ROCK for what it is though), but I loved it. I see little reason for it not to go over well with Vern and the rest of my fellow commenters.

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