The Rock is one of the few Michael Bay movies that isn’t completely unwatchable for their erratic camera movement and excessive CGI. It is also full of cheesy one-liners and an overtly dramatic score, but remains a solid action movie nonetheless.
For those who have not seen it, The Rock is about two mismatched men who must break into Alcatraz to stop a group of rogue soldiers from unleashing a biological attack against San Francisco.
While Nicolas Cage’s horrifically-named lead Stanley Goodspeed (I know, right?) is a slightly quirky guy who’s character arc treads a very formulaic action movie path, Sean Connery’s ex-con James Mason is by far the most interesting piece of the puzzle. It is this character that has created one of cinemas great fan theory’s: that Mason is actually an older James Bond.
You can find many YouTube videos that explores this theory, but the one below by Pentex Productions presents a very thorough and convincing case as to how Connery’s James Bond can fit almost seamlessly into the narrative of The Rock. It’s a well-researched and well-presented argument that certainly provokes debate. If nothing else, it may prompt a curious re-watching of The Rock to decide for yourself – that was certainly the effect it had on me.
Of course, the big caveat is that the films in which Connery plays 007 exist separately to every other Bond film. Without this rule the theory falls flat very quickly. However, the fact that there are three iterations of Casino Royale in the wider Bond universe (granted, one is a decidedly non-canon spoof of the genre) supports the idea that the movies in which Connery played Bond might exist in a seperate reality to the rest.
This essentially means that every time a new actor plays 007 the series is “re-booted” but given the passage of time plus the total inconsistency of plot lines, characters and technology throughout the Bond movies, this separation of “Connery’s Bond, “Craig’s Bond”, “Moore’s Bond” and so on actually makes sense.
So take a look and see what you think. Was 007 abandoned by the British government after being arrested in the US? Or is James Mason simply a character perhaps inspired by James Bond?
Overall, The Rock is a pretty good action movie, but it’s pacing sometimes seems off. Much time is spent early on developing Carla as Goodspeed’s pregnant fiancé only for her to make almost no appearance for the second half of the movie.
Also, the whole section where Mason escapes a hotel suite and is chased chaotically through the city seems like filler, only prolonging the mission to Alcatraz and padding out the length of the movie.
Once the film gets to the main attraction it charges ahead will almost constant action, full of the usual Bay-esque explosions and violence. For a movie from 1996 the CGI stands up fairly well, although there is not much of it throughout the film.
So what do you think? Does The Rock deserve to be considered as the canonical ending to Connery’s 007? Or is it all simply tribute and coincidence? Let us know below!