Tag Archives: Dwayne Johnson

Baywatch

Baywatch_poster

In this reboot of the popular 90’s TV series Baywatch a team of lifeguards led by Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) attempt to foil a drugs plot while also dealing with cocky new recruit Matt Brody (Zac Efron). Can they catch they catch the bad guy and keep their beach safe?

As a kid I loved Baywatch from the opening theme song (“Some people stand in the darkness…”) and the ridiculousness of the slow running lifeguards. I was hoping that the reboot would be fresh and funny like the 21 Jump Street movie managed to be. Unfortunately while I think they were trying to reach that level Baywatch falls far short. The majority of jokes are just not funny, revolving around crude body humour and relying on swearing as punch lines. It doesn’t help that the female characters are criminally underserved given the thinnest of characterisation and sidelined for the most of the heroics, yet Mitch, Brody and the dorky Ronnie (Jon Bass, whose given a number of unfunny moments in the film) all perform heroics in the big climax while the women are left on the sidelines. After the amazing heroics of Wonder Woman this is a cold reminder that Hollywood still sees females as beautiful bystanders.

It’s not all bad news though there are flashes of good jokes that find their way through. As usual Johnson retains his charm and star charisma while Zac Efron does his best with the material and at least has a character arc throughout the film. As head villain duties Priyanka Chopra (star of the great TV series Quantico) oozes charisma and glamour though she’s underused like the rest of the female cast.

Rating 2/5 – unfunny and unoriginal, this reboot sinks on arrival

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Fast and Furious 8

Fast and Furious 8

Otherwise known as The Fate of the Furious in the States, the eighth (!) installment in the franchise has already passed the one billion mark at the box office. This time around Dom (Vin Diesel) has seemingly turned his back on family (get used to this word being used a lot) and joined up with the evil Cipher (Charlize Theron). Can the team foil Cipher’s evil plot and bring Dom back into the fold?

Ah The Fast and The Furious movies, where logic and science goes to die. But the series is obviously doing something right with audiences scrambling to see the adventures of Dom and co. I admit the Fast and Furious movies starting from Fast Five have become something of a guilty pleasure of mine and this latest offering works best when it plays to the series strengths. One of it’s biggest strengths is Dwayne Johnson who brings charisma and entertainment as law man Luke Hobbs, Johnson looks like he doesn’t take any of the film too seriously and is having fun with the ridiculousness of it all. Trading insults with Jason Statham’s Deckard- the last film’s villain now possible good guy?-is one of the more enjoyable parts of the films. When the series has fun and goes from one insane set up to another it’s easy to get swept up in it all.

However the film gets bogged down with too much focus on Dom and Cipher- the least interesting part of the movie. Poor Theron does her best but Cipher and her monologues are a bore. The film suffers whenever it tries to play it seriously and an overlong climax also starts to wear any audience good will. Suspension of belief is already needed to get your head around the gang’s zany schemes but around the time Hobbs grabs a tornado with his hands you start wondering if the filmmakers ever reject an idea for being too ridiculous. Or maybe in the F&F world every idea is a good idea. Also the fact that Deckard murdered Han in the previous movie seems to be forgotten about. Justice for Han!

Not as deliciously bonkers as the 5th and 6th installments and lacks the emotional edge of the 7th. While the 8th will probably go down as the most profitable I doubt it will be the most popular one.

Rating 3/5 – Dom’s ‘family’ have still got it but the series will need to shape up for future installments

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San Andreas

Disaster movies can be quite fun as long as you leave your brain at home. I’ve always enjoyed watching classic ones like The Poseiden Adventure and The Towering Inferno. But then there are ones that are just boring such as the John Cusack snoozefest 2012. So where does Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson’s new flick stand?

Johnson is Ray, a LA helicopter rescue pilot whose estranged from his wife Emma (Carla Gugino). When a massive earthquake rips across lots of cities along the San Andreas Fault, Johnson has to rescue not only Emma but also their daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) who is trapped in San Francisco. As threats of further earthquakes come in, can Ray save both the women in his life?

Having low expectations going in to see this movie, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had. Ok it’s never going to be a classic movie but it knows what it is and does it well. Having Dwayne Johnson in the lead role helps as he’s one of the few professional wrestler turn actor that can actually act and have loads of charisma. You can also believe that if anyone can take on an earthquake it’s the man formally known as The Rock.

As for the supporting characters, Paul Giamatti sprouts exposition well as Dr. Lawrence Hayes and Ray’s daughter Blake is, unusually for this genre, not annoying and is actually quite resourceful. Yes she ultimately does have to be rescued by her father (as does her mother) but San Andreas isn’t looking to challenge too many cliches.There’s Emma’s new boyfriend who predictably turns out to be a coward, and someone has to die early on to save a helpless child.

Some of it is very stupid. Ray and Emma almost fall into a huge hole in the ground even though it was right in front of them. Some of the conversations between the ex couple are also a bit boring as they are just there to provide the back story to their relationship. Yes it’s cheesy, and it won’t re-invent the disaster movie, but San Andreas is easy watching and has good special effects to satisfy most audience viewers.

Rating 3/5 – silly but enjoyable none the less

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