2017 Summer Movie Review: Baywatch


Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) and his team of lifeguards run in slow-motion in Baywatch. (Source: IMDb)

I have never seen the Baywatch show starring David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson. All I needed to know about it is that a group of lifeguards save the day and run in slow-motion. That’s it.

When I saw the previews for the movie, they made me laugh quite a bit. How can anyone not love Dwayne Johnson? He may be tough, but he also has a soft side and can be really funny. Despite some bizarre casting choices (particularly in some family flicks), he proves that he can be a great action star—from The Scorpion King to the Fast and Furious franchise.

With him teaming up with a younger cast, Baywatch might be a decent comedic escape. The comedy does work at times and the action rarely lets up, the movie somewhat falls flat.

Lt. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) works as a lifeguard on the Florida coast. The movie opens up with him saving a parasailer’s life from hitting his head on a rock. While saving hundreds of lives during his career, Mitch remembers that tryouts are the next day. His new team of lifeguards including Olympic swimmer Matt Brody (Zac Efron), techie Ronnie (Jon Bass), blondie CJ (Kelly Rohrbach), brunette Summer (Alexandra Dedarrio, San Andreas), and Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera) goes around Emerald Bay to solve a drug case.

Making fun of the original source material is nothing new. 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street, The 1995 film version of The Brady Bunch and the 2002 live-action rendition of Scooby-Doo are prime examples of movies making fun of the shows that are based off of. Some work well, while others fail miserably. Baywatch is no exception.

The movie did give me a good laugh here and there. Particularly when Mitch gives Brody such a hard time and poking fun at the hot women running in slow-motion on the beach (one of the iconic bits on the show). I don’t know how Dwayne Johnson can come up with these insults. He certainly gets a good laugh while being a straight-up badass. His comedic timing is nothing short of perfect. While having to get as buffed as his co-star (so buffed he could be on American Ninja Warrior), Efron has been starring in a lot of raunchy comedies recently—from the decent Neighbors to the abysmal Dirty Grandpa. I prefer him vomiting in the pool in this movie rather than seeing him waking up on a beach wearing nothing but a bumblebee fanny pack.

While the jokes do work, there are times in which they go on for far too long. In one scene, Mitch, Brody and Summer sneak into a hospital morgue in search for evidence about the drugs. Brody is told to look under the corpse’s penis for anything, which, of course, he makes a complete ass out of himself. A lot of raunchy comedies—like Neighbors—often use a lot of dick jokes. If it goes for too long, it loses humor.

Despite its moments, Baywatch is, more or less, your standard R-rated comedy. With strong action, great chemistry between Johnson and his co-stars, what falters is some terrible CGI (still a lot better than Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) and the jokes being a mixed bag.



2015 Summer Movie Review: San Andreas

The Rock faces against a new opponent: An earthquake hitting California

The Rock faces against a new opponent: An earthquake hitting California

It’s impossible not to love Dwayne Johnson. He has it all: massive biceps, a mile-long smile, a wonderful sense of humor, and a tough attitude. When he is the main star, he gives what the audience wants. Even though he can choose the strangest roles (Tooth Fairy), action films (Fast and Furious) is what he comes across best. San Andreas, the latest disaster flick, is no exception. Even though there are a lot of problems, I’m surprised how much I enjoyed the movie. It knows what it wants to be, and it delivers.

Johnson plays Ray Gaines, a helicopter pilot for the Los Angeles Fire Department. He and his wife Emma (Carla Gugino) recently filed for divorce. His daughter Blake (Alexandra Dedarrio, Percy Jackson) is in college who is going have a job in a high-rise building that his mother’s boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd) developed in Downtown San Francisco. Meanwhile, a Caltech seismologist (Paul Giamatti) and his colleague create a breakthrough where they can predict an earthquake. When a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hits the Hoover Dam, it starts to connect with the San Andreas Fault, causing a 9.1 earthquake. Ray saves his ex-wife in a restaurant in L.A., and they go to San Francisco to save their daughter.

San Andreas is your typical summer action flick. Loaded with CGI, some cheesy one-liners, a star-studded cast but limited character development. Director Brad Peyton is aware on how stupid the movie is, but he can create a better-looking disaster movie than Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay. The scene where a tsunami hits San Francisco is one of the most jaw-dropping special effects sequences of the year. Even though The Rock does a good job, I think the scene-stealer is Paul Giamatti, who gives some interesting scientific knowledge on earthquakes. The moral of the story is always listen to seismologists.