The Rock Review
7 June 1996
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Script of the film
According to Michael Bay the script was written much more straight and serious than the final film. Most of the humorous moments and lines were improvised during filming.
In the scene in the interrogation room where FBI agent Stanley Goodspeed introduces himself to John Mason (Sean Connery), John replies “But of course you are”. This was exactly the same line he used when he met Plenty O’Toole in the casino scene in the Bond film Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
Michael Bay’s Choice
Michael Bay’s favorite movie of his own.
Sean Connery’s character
There are several theories that Sean Connery’s character is in fact an older version of his own James Bond character.
Sean Connery’s character (Training)
Sean Connery (Mason) says he was trained by British intelligence, like his old character James Bond.
At the beginning of the movie…
General Hummel kisses his wife’s grave stone and leaves behind his Medal of Honor, the highest award in the armed forces of the USA. It is bestowed on a member of the US armed forces who distinguishes himself “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States”
Sean Connery’s favourite film…
Along with Entrapment (1999), this was Sean Connery’s favourite film of his own during the 1990s.
What is ‘The Rock’ about?
When renegade Brigadier General Francis Hummel (Ed Harris) and his group of Force Reconnaissance Marines (FRM) steal 15 rockets of deadly VX gas, take 81 tourists hostage on the prison island of Alcatraz (affectionately known as ‘the Rock’), and threaten to release the gas over San Francisco unless the Pentagon pays him 100 million dollars, F.B.I. Director James Womack (John Spencer) enlists the aid of F.B.I. chemical weapons expert Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) and former M16 agent John Mason (Sean Connery), currently a federal prisoner and the only man to ever escape from Alcatraz. Together, they must break INTO Alcatraz and find the rockets so that Goodspeed can neutralize the chemical bombs.
Why was Hummel attempting to blackmail the Pentagon?
Hummel lost 83 of his FRM men while under his command carrying out covert operations. Because their service was secret, and in some cases illegal, they received no recognition, such as proper military burial or benefits to their families. After attempting to get recognition for these marines through the normal channels, Hummel has decided to force the government into giving them the compensation they deserve.
How does the movie end?
Mason and Goodspeed break out of their cells and go in search of the last two rockets. When the feds do not capitulate and ask for another hour to meet his demands, Hummel fires off one of the rockets to show that he means business. At the last moment, however, he aborts the target and sends it hurtling harmlessly out to sea. As Mason and Goodspeed watch from a peephole in a door, Hummel admits to his men that he’s not about to kill 80,000 innocent people. Realizing that his bluff has been called, he informs them that the mission is over. He claims full responsibility and orders them to evacuate the Rock. When they realize that they won’t get paid, the men mutiny against Hummel. A shootout occurs, and Hummel is hit. Goodspeed pulls him out of the line of fire and, with his last breath, Hummel tells Goodspeed the location of the last rocket. Goodspeed goes looking for it, followed by Darrow (Tony Todd), while Mason stays behind to hold Frye (Gregory Sporleder) at bay. Meanwhile, the military has decided to blow up the island and everyone on it and has dispatched F/A-18s to make an air strike. Goodspeed finds the last rocket and takes out the gas pearls. Darrow attacks him, and Goodspeed kills him by firing the disarmed rocket into him. He then tries to disarm the targeting chip embedded in the pearls, dropping one. Fortunately, it doesn’t break, so he puts it in his shirt pocket. While Goodspeed is under fire, Mason fights off the shooters. Frye corners Goodspeed, who defends himself by shoving the gas pearl into Frye’s mouth, exposing them both to VX. Goodspeed then injects himself in the heart with atropine. With bombers one minute away, he lights the flares to signal that the threat is over. the air strike is aborted, but one of the bombs has just been launched. It blows up the back of the island, knocking Goodspeed into the water and rendering him unconscious but not harming any of the hostages. Suddenly Mason appears and pulls Goodspeed from the water. Goodspeed reminds Mason that the scuba gear they used to get on the island is still there and lets him go free. Before he leaves, Mason gives Goodspeed a note revealing where the microfilm is hidden. When Womack shows up to rescue him and the hostages, Goodspeed informs him that Mason has been ‘vaporized’ and blown out to sea. In the final scene, Goodspeed and Carla (Vanessa Marcil) recover the film from a hollow leg in the front pew of a church in Fort Walton, Kansas and drive off in a car bearing a sign saying, ‘Just married.’
RT/Meta Critic Review
The Rock works best when it’s most light-hearted.(Click here to see)