My Favourite Film
Why I love… The Rock
Yes. Stuff.tv’s Esat Dedezade has gone there. And he’s not embarrassed. Here’s why The Rock is his favourite film…
“Hey man, you just f****d up your Ferrari.”
“It’s not mine.”
“And neither is this.”
Ah, The Rock. Not to be confused with the former pro-wrestler who’s now a hulking Hollywood behemoth, this classic 90s action flick is one of my favourite films, despite the fact that it’s directed by Michael Bay.
I refuse to classify it as a guilty pleasure, and my love for The Rock is as fierce and as unapologetic as a syringe of atropine rammed directly into the heart. But why do I hold what many believe to be a cheesy action flick in such high regard?
Well, it’s got Nicolas Cage in it for starters. Yes he’s madder than a bag of cut snakes (watch Bad Lieutenant, seriously), but I find him entertaining damn it, and his character in The Rock – FBI biochemist Stanley Goodspeed – has a perfect mix of crazy sarcasm and cheesy one-liners that made nine year old me aspire to be a biochemist-come-gun-shooter-person.
More comfortable with test tubes than firearms, Mr Cage is flung into the middle of a bullet-ridden hostage situation on the legendary prison island of Alcatraz, with the unenviable task of disarming a whole bunch of nasty chemical VX gas rockets aimed directly into the heart of San Francisco.
The bad guy responsible for all this? General Francis Hummel, played by Ed Harris, who’s steely blue eyes fit the role of a cold, hard and calculating rogue general scarily well.
Oh, and then of course there’s Sean Connery.
That’s right, not only do we get Nic Cage and Ed Harris, but we get the original James Bond thrown in for good measure too, and he is, in my opinion, much more awesome as a retired British Spy in The Rock than he was in any Bond flick.
Best of misfits
At the heart of it all, The Rock is a buddy cop movie. Nic Cage the scientist, who’s barely fired a gun in his career, is left fighting for his life with the seasoned soldier Mr Connery. There are insults, there’s banter, there’s mistrust and reconciliation. You know, the standard stuff.
But the combination of Connery’s suaveness and skills in battle, mirrored against Cage’s bumbling combat and sarcasm is just really entertaining to watch, and the obscenities and phrases thrown around were wondrous delights to my ears at the time. Though I probably shouldn’t have repeated them in public. Sorry mum.
Apart from that though, the reason I love The Rock so much is that it’s an action film that has everything. The plot is actually pretty decent for a Michael Bay explosion-fest, the casting is spot on, and it manages to cram in every action movie cliché you can think of, including a car chase through fruit stands, a tram de-railing, a person flung over the edge of a building, and guns. Lots and lots of guns.
Making a man of me
It’s all so manly I’m pretty sure I sprouted my first few strands of facial hair just watching it for the first time. In fact, it’s so saturated with testosterone that the plot doesn’t even bother with a female love interest, which is just fine by me.
No, it doesn’t tug at your heartstrings like The Shawshank Redemption. It doesn’t sweat your brain like Memento. And it doesn’t have the complexity of Pulp Fiction.
But The Rock is, in my opinion, one of the best action films ever made, striking the perfect balance between a decent plot, great cast, killer soundtrack and all the explosions and bullet casings you’ll ever need, while throwing in a dash of morality at the end for good measure.
I’ve re-watched it over and over again, it inspired me to write about VX gas in a biochemistry exam at university (I was grasping at straws), and it’s one of the few DVDs that I haven’t managed to scratch or lose over the years.
Esat Dedezade is staff writer on Stuff magazine
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