Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage Movie (1996)

On June 7, 1996, Buena Vista presented Michael Bay's action film The Rock, which starred Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage. The R-rated film, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, grossed $134 million in the United States that summer. The original Hollywood Reporter review is below:

An above-average action film with a lot of money and enough macho behavior and explosive thrills to please fans of the genre. The stone has the usual believability issues, but the ride is so fast and so wildly executed that you enjoy its excesses while also admiring the solid performances of its star trio.

Simpson/Bruckheimer's final production is dedicated to the late Don of testosterone-fuelled blockbusters and is poised to make a big breakthrough on opening weekend. With a rapid pace and gritty direction under the direction of second-time director Michael Bay (Bad Boys), The stone has firepower in abundance and plenty of dramatic verbal battles, but there's no time for romance or any real connection between audience and characters – unless you're as excited about the guns and gadgets as the filmmakers obviously are.

But Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery, as an unlikely duo of good guys tasked with stopping a terrorist attack by a renegade general, turn this clever and often silly film into a thoroughly entertaining frenzy of high-tech warfare and reverse prison break, set against the oft-used backdrop of Alcatraz Island.

Currently in the rhetoric of the main antagonist General Hummel (Ed Harris), who takes the city of San Francisco hostage to attract the attention of the government and demand money and recognition for former covert warriors under his command, The stone portrays the U.S. military as vulnerable to a potentially devastating mutiny and hides many secrets from those who absolutely need to know them – and we all eagerly await the next stunning revelation.

One such secret that helps a SEAL team storm Alcatraz, where Hummel has taken hostages and launched missiles loaded with VX poison gas at the city, is long-time prisoner Mason (Sean Connery). Mason, a secret agent who was imprisoned for three decades for stealing a copy of J. Edgar Hoover's private files – which included the secret tip on how to assassinate JF Kennedy – has accidentally escaped from the Rock.

Meanwhile, FBI chemical and biological weapons expert Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) narrowly escapes a horrific death in the line of duty and learns that his girlfriend (Vanessa Marcil) is pregnant and planning to get married. At least this storyline isn't dominated by aggressive military types, and Cage is perfect as a relatively normal guy who is reluctantly drawn into the massive chaos that regularly occurs in this muscular slugfest.

The screenplay by David Weisberg and Douglas S. Cook (Holy Matrimony) and debut author Mark Rosner is pulp fiction that requires a lot of shouting from the actors, but the dialogue is decent considering the rich tradition of adventure films. Bay's fast-cutting style is not unpleasantly reminiscent of ogling movie scenes in a loud widescreen comic. What has gained in dynamism, however, comes at the expense of sensitive character drawings.

Kudos to production designer Michael White, cinematographer John Schwartzman, editor Richard Francis-Bruce and the rest of the crew for creating the film's rough and rugged environment without the use of many computer-generated effects. — David Hunter, originally published June 3, 1996.