The Rock: A Movie Review

OK, so this is a blog entry about the Rock but it’s not about St. Peter, the Lord Jesus Christ or the great wrestler who enquired if you capable of discerning through your nostrils what he managed to cater on his hotplate just for you.

The movie must be almost 20 years old now – what does Wiki say? Wiki says this film came out in 1996 which makes it 15 years old – that’s close enough to 20 years for me. So here I be with my precious youngest daughter asleep and my beautiful wife who is awake. Now we’ve watched The Rock at least three times before, but here it is again on BBC 3 and we be watching it again – why?

Let’s get the pedantics out of the way. Veterans who feel hard done by the American government virtually hold them to ransom by kidnapping all the visitors to the Alcatraz prison aka The Rock. With time running out before they will blow apart the whole of San Francisco, the FBI must call on the skills of chemicals expert Stanley Goodspeed and former resident of the prison who is the only one alive to have escaped it John Mason. Mason is a former SAS man who has been detained for so long hardly anyone remembers him, but he remembers the man who messed his life up, the same man representing the FBI who needs his help now.

Ed Harris plays the head vet holding his country to ransom. It’s an intersting casting for a role in which we are meant to feel sympathetic even though he is the ‘bad guy’. Sean Connery plays Mason and Nic Cage plays Goodspeed. This is one of the first of three movies that Cage will take part that is a top level action caper – the other two being Con air and Face Off. Some might quibble about Gone In 60 Seconds not being include. I’m obviously not one of them.

Action movies of this ilk don’t thrive on being coherent dramatic narratives that stimulate deep thoguht. It is all about the set-pieces, the big car chases, the explosions, the slow-motion segments, the camera panning around at our hero surveying the mess of it all.




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