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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent film with great extra features
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
In this director approved Criterion Collection release, we are treated to some excellent materials.
The film follows the story of Francis Hummel (Ed Harris), a retired marine who takes hostages on Alcatraz island. His demand is that the families of soldiers killed in covert operations be given...
Published on July 3 2004 by Ted

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who DOES Michael Bay know at Criterion?
How is it that this director of summer shoot-'em-up blockbuster fare has managed to have not one, but TWO of his films (the other being "Armageddon - Criterion Collection") accepted into the exclusive Criterion family, a label typically reserved for "important classic and contemporary films"?
Granted, "The Rock" was enjoyable. With...
Published on March 2 2001 by Charlie Peterson


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent film with great extra features, July 3 2004
By 
Ted "Ted" (Pennsylvania, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
In this director approved Criterion Collection release, we are treated to some excellent materials.
The film follows the story of Francis Hummel (Ed Harris), a retired marine who takes hostages on Alcatraz island. His demand is that the families of soldiers killed in covert operations be given compensation. He treatens to launch VX nerve gas into the city of San Francisco if his demands are not met. A navy SEAL team is sent in to neutralize the threat. Helping out is Stanley Goodspeed (Nicholas Cage), a chemical weapons expert, and John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery), the only man to have escaped from Alcatraz.
The film has great acting and there are some good laughs in the film also. There are many action packed scenes including a car chase through the streets of San Francisco and the cars are often airborne when they go on the hills.
The Criterion DVD has many special features and is on a deouble disc set.
Disc 1 contains the movie with optional audio commentary by Director Michael Bay, Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Technical advisor Harry Humphries, and actors Nicholas Cage and Ed Harris.
Disc 2 contains a theatrical trailer and TV spots, a video interview with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a blooper reel, a special about the film's premiere on Alcatraz, scenes from a TV special "Secrets of Alcatraz" that contains interviews with actual former inmates and a history of the island from Native American times to modern times.
There is a special "Dos and Don'ts of Hollywood Gunplay" with the film's technical advisor Harry Humpries and Marshall Teague. This specail contains depictions of errors made in action films regarding the use of guns it emphasises saftey and common mistakes including gun drawing techniques that don't "work" such as the "gangster grab" or the "wyatt earp pull".
There are also 2 features on the films special effects. One is on the dive sequence and the other is on other effects, like the cable car crash. There are also storyboards, production stills and drawings.
This is a must biy for fans of the movie as well a fans of the Criterion Collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Connery Elevates the Entire Film, June 15 2004
By 
Michael K. Beusch (San Mateo, California United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rock DVD (DVD)
The Michael Bay - Jerry Bruckheimer formula, like that for the James Bond films, is pretty well set: lots of stuff blowing up, lots of bodies flying through the air, a cast dominated by strong male leads, women are very secondary, a very dramatic music score, lots of foul language and a very right of center political outlook (the military are always the heroes and anyone who questions the heroes' judgment are pansies or some other leftwing radical type). However, the James Bond films always had a sly sense of humor about themselves. Bond might save the American Space program, Fort Knox, Miami and the planet Earth, but there was always an underlying message: This is just for fun folks. The Bay-Bruckheimer films, however, have the delusion that they're actually fighting the battles depicted on screen. There's a lot of overwrought music, emotional scenes between the characters and slow motion closups of the hero(es) walking or running towards their battle with evil. The Rock, in this way, is no different. A team of marines, led by General Frank Hummell (Ed Harris) and disgusted with the way the U.S. Government has neglected the families of those soldiers killed in illegal missions abroad, has taken 81 hostages on Alcatraz, threatening to lauch nerve gas rockets into San Francisco unless reparations are paid to those soldiers' survivors. Heavy, heavy stuff.
However, injected into this serious mix is none other than the best James Bond himself -- Sean Connery. Even in the more serious early Bonds, Connery always managed to convey to the audience that they were supposed to have fun during these films. Bruckheimer and Bay do their best to elevate what is essentially Saturday morning action serial material into Wagnerian opera. But there is Connery, putting all the action into perspective by not taking anyting too seriously and grounding the material by recognizing what it really is: sheer entertainment.
Bay, Bruckheimer and company keep trying to push the fact that Ed Harris' desperate General Hummell is a man of honor, a real hero, etc., etc. Anyone who questions his judgment, like the hapless, simpering Presidential Chief of Staff at the first briefing scene, is shot down as a liberal wimp who would never make the sacrifices that Harris' character made for America and should shut up before one of the real men in the room shoot him (I wonder what George McGovern, Daniel Inouye and other liberals who fought for and were decorated for fighting for their country think of this kind of portrayal). Never mind that the General threatens to kill thousands of San Franciscans with nerve gas. Bay-Bruckheimer have stacked the deck by having the great Ed Harris play General Hummell, giving the character an inherent integrity that can't help but make him sympathetic. Fox News isn't this slanted.
In walks Connery who, in his big confrontation scene with Harris, gets right to the heart of the matter in a few lines. He correctly says that he doesn't see how "you cherish the memory of the dead by killing another million" and sums up Hummell's actions as "an act of lunacy." In one fell swoop, Connery slaps the collective message of the film across the face and shows that terrorism is terrorism, no matter if it's done by decorated U.S. soldiers with a legitimate gripe against the government. It's fairly certain that Connery, an executive producer of the film, purposely torpedoed Bay-Bruckheimer's testosterone toned view of the world.
In The Rock, Connery proves, once again, that an actor with a strong enough presence and a large amount of talent doesn't need to scream and shout to give a great performance. Nicholas Cage, Connery's co-star, bellows and shouts like he's on fire most of the film ("How, in Zeus' BUTTHOLE did you get out of your cell?!?!?!?!?!?" -- god, give it a rest, Nick!). Cage certainly isn't alone -- the rest of the cast buys into Bay-Bruckheimer's "this film is the most important thing you'll ever watch" mentality. However, Sean Connery, with his charm, wit and grace, throws a bucket of cold water over the entire proceedings and reminds everyone that the film is what it is and nothing more: a technically superb action film that exists merely to entertain ... period.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe director Michael Bay's action masterpiece, June 13 2004
By 
Kenji Fujishima (East Brunswick, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rock DVD (DVD)
Okay, perhaps I am being very hasty with making that proclamation, since I'll admit I haven't seen any other Michael Bay film other than this one and ARMAGEDDON. Still, I cannot imagine that this much-maligned director has made a better action movie than this one. ARMAGEDDON was an ugly, bloated, flagrantly manipulative piece of action drivel. THE ROCK, on the other hand, may be just as manipulative, but I'll pick this very good pure action flick over ARMAGEDDON any day.
What's good about this particular action movie? Unlike ARMAGEDDON, THE ROCK doesn't attempt to be something more than good action entertainment. There are no synethetic emotions and all that nauseatingly insistent patriotism that seriously marred ARAMGEDDON, despite the fact that the antagonist of this movie is a former general who is looking for restitution for families of soldiers who died in combat under his command. THE ROCK is purely what it is, an action flick. As it turns out, it is a very skillful one at that, with convincing performances from all three leads (Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage, and Ed Harris) and exciting action scenes all around.
As for the plot, no, it is not particularly fresh (with elements borrowed from DIE HARD and even PULP FICTION), but the script adds some interesting elements to the equation, particularly with Ed Harris' General Hummel, who all throughout shows significant sympathetic human dimensions that make him stand out from the usual one-dimensional snarling villain. I liked those touches, as well as the twist at the end, in which the villains of the story seem to shift. It is with that twist that THE ROCK truly does stand apart from the action-movie crowd.
I always love a good action movie, and THE ROCK is definitely one of the good (if not absolutely great) ones. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who DOES Michael Bay know at Criterion?, March 2 2001
By 
Charlie Peterson (Minneapolis, MN USA) - See all my reviews
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How is it that this director of summer shoot-'em-up blockbuster fare has managed to have not one, but TWO of his films (the other being "Armageddon - Criterion Collection") accepted into the exclusive Criterion family, a label typically reserved for "important classic and contemporary films"?
Granted, "The Rock" was enjoyable. With cheesy dialogue like "I'll take pleasure in guttin' you, boy!" and "I drive a Volvo--a beige one", what's not to like? And, rest assured, Criterion will make this one look gorgeous. All those explosions in downtown San Francisco, not to mention Sean Connery's fiery dive through the furnace once on the Rock will look fantastic, especially after you've adjusted your TV's color settings with the color bars Criterion will most certainly include on the DVD.
You'll thrill to the car chases in San Francisco, as Sean Connery pilots a stolen Humvee with reckless abandon! You'll gasp as Nicolas Cage, who does a masterful job of playing Nicolas Cage, narrowly escapes a doomed Ferrari F355 from a hurtling, derailed streetcar! You'll shudder as Ed Harris' mercenaries gun down an entire Seal team in the Alcatraz shower room (all except, that is, Sean and Nicolas, who then manage to overtake a battalion of money-hungry assassins by distracting them with lines like, "Hi, my name's Stanley Goodspeed. Glass or plastic?")!
Yeah, this will be fantastic. Meticulous lines recreated in Criterion-perfect subtitles. They may even feature foreign subtitles, thereby making "The Rock" an international masterpiece. Probably some deleted scenes....that means more cheesy dialogue! And audio? Guaranteed! Nothing but the best. The problem is, unfortunately, that you've seen it all before. If not, you probably saw it the following summer, only it was called "Con Air".
I suppose Criterion, in their efforts to represent all genres of the film spectrum, must not overlook the high-budget summer blockbuster. In this regard, "The Rock" satisfies, even if the material is recycled and touched up with new, stupendous dialogue. Any film purist will appreciate the care which Criterion will apply to this print, as they apply to every other movie under their discriminating title. For some people, that's enough.
There you go--I've defeated my own argument. Put me down for a copy. Kudos to Michael Bay and his boys for doing it again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable movie with great acting, May 9 2004
By 
hjonkers (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Rock DVD (DVD)
A lot in 'The Rock' hints at James Bond. There is a British man (named John Mason) who is a master at escaping and fighting; a villain who wants to destroy an entire American city and a lot of over-the-top action scenes. What's more, Mason is played by Sean Connery. But there are some differences with Bond as well: the storyline is (even) more one-dimensional; the girls are absent and, most importantly, Mason is rather the sidekick of the movie's main character: scientist Stanley Goodspeed (Nicholas Cage).
Goodspeed is the real man-with-a-mission here: he tries to keep an evil Vietnam general (Ed Harris) from blowing up San Francisco. The general is hiding in Alcatraz, of all places. However, the only man who knows how to infiltrate Alcatraz is this prisoner John Mason, a man who was arrested years and years ago and once escaped from Alcatraz. Mason is at first reluctant to help, also because nobody tells him exactly who he is fighting against. But soon he and Goodspeed form a good team that fights the bad general till the bitter end.
The story itself is rather flat: once the team has entered Alcatraz (which happens rather early in the film), a hide-and-run-game starts that continues till the very end. The action scenes are spectacular but also somewhat predictable. Still, this isn't a bad movie, thanks to the great acting of Cage and Connery. Both play characters that are anything but one-dimensional: Mason changes from a curmudgeon scoundrel into a virtuous man, and Goodspeed slowly converts from a typically desperate scientist into a brave action hero.
It is the interplay and communication between Mason and Goodspeed that makes this film more than worthwhile, and can make you forget the rather nonsensical story. It's an enjoyable movie to watch, therefore. Oh and, don't miss the end scene!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well-acted action thriller, Sept. 11 2003
By 
Joseph H Pierre "Joe Pierre" (Salem, OR USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rock (VHS Tape)
Featuring Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris,this is a fast-paced action thriller that is, of course, very well acted and full of energy.

The cinematography is topflight, as is the direction, and it will keep you interested until the end, as a good yarn should.

I would rate it as an easy five stars except for the message the story-line pushes: that the government has stiffed our combat soldiers and treated them with anonimity, and when they are killed refused to treat their survivors fairly. This is simply not even remotely true, and for me it almost ruined an otherwise good story. It was the supposed motivation for the heavy, very well played by Ed Harris (who played John Glenn in The Right Stuff), to lead a terror attack on his own country--a man whom, in the story had won the Congressional Medal of Honor (In my years in the service I met only one such man). In the story the other military men simpathized with him. So unlikely an event that it almost made me vomit. I know of what I speak. I was retired for service-connected disability, and have been very will treated by my grateful nation.

The writer also took the usual jabs at J. Edgar Hoover, one of the Hollywood left's favorite targets, and finally insinuated in the conspiracy theory of JFK's death with the clear implication that the government was involved, as well as an allusion to the Roswell 'flying saucer' secrecy conspiracy wherein the U.S. Air Force was supposed to have captured alien spacemen and kept it secret--another kook favorite.

This is a fine film, well acted and produced. Forgive me if I dwell overmuch on the leftist propaganda aspects which are, after all, typical fodder from Hollywood. But I get very tired of story lines that always, always make our government the bad guy, all in the name of entertainment, and contribute to that image among people who know no better.

It WAS good entertainment. I'm probably just too politically inclined to give an objective view.

Joseph (Joe) Pierre, USN (Ret.)

author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
and other books
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get Ready to Rock, Aug. 20 2003
By 
R. J Rey (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) - See all my reviews
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Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage face incredible odds in the action-packed hit "The Rock". A rogue US general and his team seize control of Alcatraz and threaten the city of San Francisco with poison gas rockets. Now the lives of millions rest in the hands of a FBI chemical weapons specialist (Nicolas Cage) and a former Alcatraz escapee (Sean Connery). "The Rock" is a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat spectacle from start to finish. Director Michael Bay has gain success with such films as "Armageddon" and "Bad Boys" but "The Rock" still remains as the director's finest work. Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage have great onscreen chemistry and further drive the film's story. Director Michael Bay stages amazing action sequences including a fierce car chase within the streets of San Francisco.
If you weren't impress with the previous release then upgrade to "The Rock - Criterion Collection". The movie is presented in enhanced widescreen format. The DVD contains a stunning and flawless picture quality with vibrant color and sharpness. The Dolby Digital sound is certainly impressive and offers more aggresive surround effects than the DTS audio track. This 2-Disc Criterion Edition features audio commentaries by cast and crew, FX and action scenes featurettes, outtakes, trailers and the movie's premiere on Alcatraz. "The Rock" is non-stop fun and this Criterion Collection DVD earns an "A".
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Man's Film About Domestic Terrorism, April 9 2003
By 
Richard Ballard "rjballard" (Saint Louis, Missouri USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Rock (VHS Tape)
The last decade of family entertainment has produced few men's films. "The Rock" is a notable exception, a man's film that addresses the issue of domestic terrorism.
A disgruntled Marine General and his men attack a military weapons depot and steal rockets with chemical warheads. The General's team seizes Alcatraz and 81 hostages, then threatens to fire the rockets into the City of San Francisco if a monetary ransom is not paid. The Government assembles a counterterrorism team that includes Navy Seals, an FBI chemical weapons laboratory expert (played by Nicolas Cage), and the only man who knows how to break *into* Alcatraz (played by Sean Connery).
"The Rock" provides an interesting view of military Special Operations in an impressive setting. The General's team controls the schedule; plus they have advance planning, ample weapons, good communications, and the element of surprise. The Government's counterterrorism team *reacts*: the Navy Seal team is trained and ready to fight, but Nicolas Cage's chemical weapons expert is a scholar rather than a warrior, and Sean Connery's character (a British agent who learned too much) has been imprisoned for thirty years without a trial. Nicolas Cage's character reluctantly agrees to join the Navy Seal team -- it is his job. Sean Connery's character reluctantly agrees to join the Navy Seal team -- it temporarily gets him out of prison. The General's team attempts to follow their methodical plan. The counterterrorism team attempts to disrupt that plan. Each disruption reduces the General's team's threat at the cost of unmanaged bloodshed.
The United States currently is at war, and The Department of Homeland Security is concentrating on countering foreign terrorist activity. In a postwar downsized (stagflating?) United States domestic economy, The Department of Homeland Security probably will be forced to reexamine the threat represented by domestic terrorists using stolen military ordinance.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Welcome to the Rock", March 30 2003
By 
T O'Brien (Chicago, Il United States) - See all my reviews
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The Rock is an excellent action movie with a great cast and excellent action sequences. A rogue general and his squad of renegade Marines have taken 81 hostages on Alcatraz and is threatening to fire rockets armed with VX gas into the Bay area if their demands are not met. The general, Frank Hummel, wants $100 million for recognition of what his men have done for the US over the past thirty years. Not willing to give him the money, the FBI sends in a Navy Seal team to try and take down all the rockets before they can be fired. Along with them are a chemical weapons expert and the only man to ever escape from the impregnable island fortress. This is a very enjoyable movie with plenty of action. The whole cast is very good with plenty of good roles for the supporting actors. For a great action movie that never slows down from beginning to end, check out The Rock.
Sean Connery stars as SAS agent, John Mason, the only man to ever successfully escape from Alcatraz. His performance is very good with plenty of great one-liners. Nicolas Cage is equally as good as Stanley Goodspeed, the chemical weapons expert who must try to disarm the rockets. Ed Harris turns in an excellent performance as rogue General Hummel, who eventually begins to question what he is doing. The excellent supporting cast is great as well with plenty of notables giving good parts. The Criterion Collection has an impressive list of extras added on. Rather than going through them all, I'll just say that if you like the movie, you'll like the DVD. For an excellent action movie with great cast and even better action, check out The Rock!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sean Connery, Sept. 24 2002
This is a great movie. I'd recommend the movie to any lover of Sean Connery, Nick Cage, Ed Harris, or action movies. Any type of movie for that matter. Sean Connery seems made for this role, a bitter British agent improsoned for life without trial. His cynisism and great quips make this movie a joy to watch. He constantly will snap back to Nick Cage with a wonderful little quote, my favorite being "Loser's whine about doing their best..... Nick Cage also gives a great performance, and he seems almost made for the role as a reluctant chemical engeneer thrust into an environment he doesn't understand with a man he doesn't trust or know. The movie plays Cage off of Connery, and the result is great dialouge mixed with awesome action sequences. Ed Harris plays the angered general who doesn't want his men, killed in top secret missions with him, to have their families go uncompinsated. You get a great view at his inner torments of wanting his goals to be completed, however, he doesn't want to be responsible for the deaths of many people in San Fransisco. The movie's action and acting is superb, and it is one of my favorite movies. I'd definatly recommend it.
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