Nicolas Cage has had a hell of a career. Starring in some 80’s romantic flicks, a Coen Brothers movie, and won an Oscar for his efforts in Leaving Las Vegas. Then he cashed in his art-house chips and got into big budget action movies – a few of them with mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
The fbf for this week belongs to one of the better Cage/Bruckheimer team ups – The Rock. The movie, which came out in 1996, was a refreshing take on the “Die Hard in a -” plotline. In this one we got General Francis X. Hummel played by Ed Harris who steals chemical weapons from a military base and takes over Alcatraz, threatening to blow up San Francisco if he and his mercenaries that he’s using don’t get paid reparations for the fallen soldiers under his command. Of course FBI and the federal government ain’t having any of that shit so they use any resource they have to take down Hummel.
There has been only one person to ever escape Alcatraz and his name is John Mason, played by Sean Connery. The FBI springs him out of jail (he’s in jail bc he didn’t give up a microfilm that contains government secrets) teaming him with lab rat Stanley Goodspeed (Cage) and a group of Navy Seals to take back Alcatraz. Along the way the Seals get ambushed so Stanley and Mason are left on their own. And I’m pretty sure you can guess where this goes from there.
Lately, anytime you see the name Michael Bay you immediately think Transformers and horrible filmmaking (shame on you if you do) but before he was making those movies Bay had something to prove. Having just directed Bad Boys, Bay wanted to get into more serious material, he actually turned down the Michael Keaton/Andy Garcia movie Desperate Measures to do this movie. You can tell Bay relished the chance to make The Rock especially with him being able to use the military and Air Force in cool ways. Bay adds a lot of iconic shots (Cage holding up flares) and scenes (Michael Biehn vs Ed Harris is one for the books) that make people look heroic or just plain old badasses. Bay definitely knows how to make a movie look great and with a good script, he’s flawless.
The two leads work really well off each other. You can tell both had fun with their parts, Cage being the guy getting into the action hero role and Connery coming back to it in a sort of “older Bond” type of way. The supporting cast plays their parts really well, especially William Forsythe as Paxton the FBI agent in charge. He’s usually the bad guy in most movies, like in the best Steven Seagal movie of all time Out for Justice, but in this one he does well as the good guy. Also gotta give props to villain Ed Harris who just brings it with the intensity. The guy just knows how to stare you down and shout at you if you’ve done wrong.
With Christmas just passing and everyone’s now done talking about if Die Hard is a Christmas movie, why not pop in this movie and enjoy it anytime of the year…