The 24th Film I have seen in theaters…
In 1996, The Rock was unleashed upon the world.
No, not THAT Rock, THE ROCK starring Sean Connery.
A former Marine General, and his men, steal some missiles loaded with nerve gas. He then takes control of Alcatraz and threatens to shoot them at San Francisco unless he is given 100 million dollars. The Navy Seals, and a top FBI Chemical weapon expert must infiltrate the island and stop him. They will need the help of the one man to ever escape “The Rock”, Sean F’n Connery.
Sean Connery needs no introductions. The man was already a legend by the 90’s and we are witnessing the beginning of end of his career by this point. He has another great movie in 1995 called “First Knight” where he played King Arthur and as a Draco in Dragonheart in 96. Here he plays Mason, the Alcatraz escapee. In this film he was…well, Sean Connery. The man wasn’t known for his range, but he played Sean Connery VERY well. He had a couple of good movies under his belt before retiring in 2003, but his glory days were past. We will see that ourselves the next time he pops up in my reviews, in 1998’s “The Avengers”. No, not those Avengers…
Nicolas Cage plays Dr Goodspeed (seriously), the FBI weapons guy. Cage was already very famous by this point. He had well over 10 years acting under his belt by the 90’s when something insane happened. Nicolas Cage went from quirky/incredibly talented actor to an action hero. He, surprisingly to me, pulled it off quite well. He was even cast as SUPERMAN by Tim Burton at one point, although they took one look at him in the costume and that was the end of that. (The photos exist).
Ed Harris, perennial villain and fantastic actor, plays Hummel, the Marine General turned terrorist. What I like, and what probably attracted Harris to the film, is that this guy had a good motive for his actions. He led countless men into battle and wanted the 100 million to give to the families of those he lost along the way. Yes, that is Dr Cox from Scrubs as one of his soldiers.
Michael Biehn continues his streak of military dudes as Anderson, leader of the Seal team. He’s good at this. He dies horribly in this. He dies a lot actually.
The late great John Spencer (remembered mostly from West Wing) plays the FBI Director. Spencer was great as government dudes. I met him once in New York, a nice man. He passed in 2005.
This was a huge hit, and cemented Cage as an action hero. While his Superman dreams never came true, he certainly had his share of superhero roles ahead of him. It is one of those essential action films from the period, which is due to it’s director: Michael Bay. That dude knows explosions.
As stated above, Connery had only 7 years remaining before his final on screen role, but his next movie is a real doozy. One of the worst films ever made. More on that in future installments.