Viking Night: Michael Bay May Phase II - The Rock

By Bruce Hall

May 9, 2017

Oh, god. Are we in a Michael Bay movie?

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In Phase I of Michael Bay May, we examined how it’s possible to be in awe of a movie you also happen to hate. This week, we’ll discuss how even someone of my enormous integrity can still be bribed with the perfect combination of actors playing just the right roles, and in just the right setting.

Damn you, Michael Bay.

I have already seen The Rock at least twice, and for a Michael Bay flick, that’s high praise. It happens to be my favorite of his films (also a somewhat misleading statement), but that’s not because it’s artistically any better than the rest of them. It’s because The Rock stars Ed Harris as a vengeful Marine who takes over Alcatraz island and Nicolas Cage as a chemical weapons specialist (just accept it) assigned to stop him. Along for the ride are Michael Biehn as a Navy SEAL (obviously), and Sean Connery showing Liam Neeson what’s up in what can only be described as a fitting swan song for James Bond.

Finally, we have the great William Forsythe, playing the same guy he usually plays. It’s as though Michael Bay heard about my disdain for Bad Boys, and personally responded by peppering his next film with some of my favorite character actors! Not all of these people necessarily even have large roles, but I’d pay $7.50 to watch Michael Biehn brush his teeth, so you know that matinee ticket is no sweat. Spoiler alert - The Rock is a brain shatteringly stupid film, but it’s a ton of fun, and I love it anyway. And you can chalk that up one hundred percent to the cast.


I can’t be the only one who feels this way, right? Are we all fans of these guys, or does everyone who watches The Rock just see a bunch of their own favorite actors in the same roles, like a Twilight Zone episode about a society whose collective intellect is in a nationwide race to zero?

Is Michael Bay a sorcerer? Is he the little girl from the Ring? It’s not out of the question, because whenever I tell people how much I hated {insert name of Michael Bay film here}, I am told that I “think too much.” But when I ask those same people to tell me how much of the story they can remember, they start twitching and sparking like overstimulated fembots. It’s like trying to explain to a child how bad Pop Rocks are for you, right after he’s just eaten an entire box of them. You’re as likely to be bitten as anything else.

There’s something about Bay’s work that speaks to our Lizard Brains. That’s the part that makes you swat at bugs instinctively, salivate when you see ice cream and read just the headline of an internet article before jumping to conclusions and Tweeting death threats to someone you’ve never met. I’m not sure why his films have this effect on people, but it’s fair to say that The Rock has that effect on me (wishing I hadn’t sent that tweet...).

Damn you, Michael Bay.

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