If there was a more cheesy, stupid TV show than Baywatch, with its scantily clad beautiful people, slow motion shots of said beautiful people running in and out of the ocean, I do not know of it. Beyond dumb, I suspect most guys tuned in to see Pamela Anderson starting her career, and little else. It certainly was not for the stories!
Now before I wade in to review the hugely unnecessary new film ‘Baywatch’, based on that same insipid series, let me state I like Dwayne Johnson, formerly known as The Rock. The fellow has genuine movie star charisma, his smile lights up the screen, and he has a powerful presence on screen. How can he not, the man is a Mountain. But he has also proven, he can act. Currently he is the go-to-guy hero in big budget disaster films like San Andreas (2015) but he can also be a really fine actor as he was in Be Cool (2006) as a gay wanna be actor hired as muscle for a music Hustler who thinks he is black. Johnson was the best thing in the film, having a great time sending up his own image, and playing a real character. His music video, the one he watches over and over is a comic delight, and his dance at the end of the film, is terrific though makes little sense as we later see a billboard announcing a film with he starring with Nicole Kidman! But you forgive it because the guy is so much fun! I loved watching him in Be Cool, just a deft, fine comic performance.
I hope he finds another role worthy of him. Kind of curious why Universal’s Dark Universe has not tapped him to play the monster in the remake of The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)?
Character and performance is not anywhere to be found in Baywatch which like the dumb TV show is filled with beautiful bodies and people, all wearing next to nothing, running in, wait for it, slow motion! Wow, how original!
Johnson is the head lifeguard (and a little more) on a busy California beach, and is also on the hunt for a drug dealer in his midst. Zac Efron, sporting a buff body is his assistant and the two have a screen bromance, and must have enjoyed looking at one another. Efron is clearly a mirror image of Johnson, in a smaller package.
Lots of action, none of it making any sense, some supporting characters (including the likes of Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario) who are left standing around watching Johnson and Efron and a stunning lack of story. In a strange and creepy bit of casting the young lady who, portrayed Johnson’s daughter in San Andreas is very much on display here as one of his lifeguards, and though blessed with a beautiful body and smile, I doubt there is an Oscar nomination coming her way soon.
It is a not much of a movie, worse somehow than Chips (2017) which we poor critics endured earlier in the year. How is that possible? The single star is for Johnson, because even though he knows the material is dreadful, I will be damned if he does not try, and he has the charisma to make this nightmare bearable.
At least it ended!