Cinerama: The Rock

Posted: September 12, 2009 in Cinerama

The Rock

By Mike Derderian

There was once a man, who roamed the world holding an iron chisel and a wooden mallet, fearing that no one would remember him after his death he was looking for a rock to carve his name on.

The man believed that when people read the carved name, they would pick their brains inside out, as they try to find out who Yurga Anaheid was. Not able to find a single stone that withstood the blows of his iron chisel, Anaheid felt sorry and sad.

“All the rocks are crumbling under the pressure of my chisel. I shall die and no one will remember my name and my soul’s blazing sizzle. Woe upon our names, woe upon our memories, woe upon our thoughts and woe upon our lives. Is there no way to save my name from demise?” Anaheid shouted out.

No mortal soul heard his ravings except for the beasts inhabiting the wilderness, where he roamed and roamed for many years to come looking for a magical stone.

One day, Anaheid reached the summit of an ancient glacier, where a scorched stone covered by crystalline orbs, believed to be the tears of angels, boldly stood defying life’s elements. Dropping his load except for his iron chisel and wooden mallet Anaheid eagerly rushed towards the massive stone.

But no sooner he delivered the first blow the stone began to fall apart with a moaning sound coming out of its stony folds that also revealed the edge of a turtle’s shell. Anaheid broke out in a fit of crying for he has failed and there was no place left to go to or a stone left unturned.

Suddenly a beastly visage darted out of the turtle shell. Awakened from its eternal slumber the old turtle noticing the tears drifting from the tired man’s eyes spoke. “Cry not Anaheid thou quest is not a failed one. Everyone shall remember Anaheid, who left his village in search of an unbreakable stone. Rocks might crumble to the ground but the echo of one’s name and deeds shall be heard and remembered forever.”

In lesser words, what I am trying to say is that you might as well die trying than not doing something at all. Yurga Anaheid exists in each of us and we are all trying to achieve something with our lives but the question is: How hard are we trying? Do you think that doing your best is good enough?

“Your best… your best is never good enough?” yelled out John Mason to Stanley Goodspeed, the baffled FBI biochemist, who is trying to locate a dozen VX nerve gas rockets held by a group of renegade marines stationed at the Alcatraz prison in Michael Bay’s 1996 The Rock.

I was at school when I first saw The Rock and I was lucky enough to have seen it at the cinema. Of course ever since satellite started the broadcast of 24-hour movie channels I’ve seen it over a dozen times but I still enjoy watching it.

Even though we Arabs are bored to death with American over-inflated heroism and false propaganda—present and deeply embedded in the film’s core substance—The Rock comes out as a great eye-flinching action movie with a no-bore script and dialogue. This is an action-packed film that will keep you glued to your seat.

The Rock very successfully brought Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage and Ed Harris, three of Hollywood’s best acting talents, together. By the way Connery is a good actor even though many people remember him most as James Bond, the suave womanizing British spy 007.

It also stars David Morse, William Forsythe, Vanessa Marcil, John C. McGinley, Tony Todd, Michael Biehn and John Spencer as FBI Director James Womack, a sleazy deceptive and Machiavellian character that you’ll hate and wish dead by the end of the movie. By the way I heard there is a job opening at the Bush Administration so if you have some of Womack’s characteristics feel free to apply.

Harris’s portrayal of the vulnerable general Hummel, who is torn between his duty and conscience, was brilliant while Goodspeed’s frantic and clumsy way with guns was unforgettable. Morse’s sympathetic Major Tom Baxter, who is loyal to Hummel, was quite good as Forsythe’s special agent Ernest Paxton was too. Actors Todd and McGinley on the other hand were quite impressive as the bad guys. You will enjoy the way they both go down.

What starts out as a hostage situation develops into 136 minutes of action packed visuals of exploding cars, blazing rockets and rocket-men, gruesome death scenes and well-choreographed gunfights. By the way you’ll love the one-liners humorously delivered by Connery and Cage.

After peeling away all the action, The Rock revolves around two main characters: General Francis Hummel (Harris), a disgruntled general appalled by the system’s outrageous behavior and ingratitude it showed to the men who served their lives for their country. And John Mason (Connery), a British secret agent incarcerated in the United States after obtaining top-secret and eyes only information that would embrace the US.

Marine honor vaporizes with the first smell of VX nerve gas in the scene where General Hummel (Harris) and a group of his most loyal men raid a military base in order to obtain 15 poisonous rockets to be used in a blackmail and hostage scheme to capture the government’s attention.

The renegade marines decide to take cover at the Alcatraz prison, which is renowned for its impenetrable location and this where Mason is involved in a counter ploy by the FBI and the military to infiltrate the ominous prison.

Mason, who is still in solitary confinement by the Americans for security reasons, was once held prisoner at the Alcatraz back in 1963 but thanks to his conning skills he was able to escape.

Teamed up with Goodspeed and a squad of navy seals Mason is asked by Womack and the FBI to penetrate the maximum-security prison in return of his freedom. Of course you and I know that Womack is lying and that once the situation in Alcatraz is resolved its back to the cooler for Mason. Will Mason and Goodspeed make it?

Must-see-scenes: Goodspeed’s attempt to neutralize a bomb hidden in a toy; Humvee and Ferrari chase scene; a bunch of very angry marines chasing Mason and Goodspeed in the tunnels under the prison; showdown between Hummel and three of his insubordinate officers and the rocket man song with a special performance by Goodspeed. By the way Goodspeed’s girlfriend Carla Pestalozzi (Marcil) was a nice touch.

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