The Rock-the biggest, most expensive, botched car chase in film history - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-04-2001, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I know what you are all thinking. "I loved the car chase in the Rock!"

Come on, think again.

The scene is horrendously misframed, mistimed, and trying to maintain a tight close up on Nicolas Cage for 90% of the chase takes the viewer out of the scene.

Oh, and lets not forget the horrible stunt double of cage running away from the exploding (?!) trolley car. why did it fly 100 feet in the air?

More on this hack job later.

The Rock is a really excellent action film- minus this unneccessary tacked on car chase sequence...
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-04-2001, 10:00 PM
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Here Here!!!

You've crystalized my thoughts exactly! I can't criticize that inept car chase enough. Words fail me! Action sequences like that that make me think Mr. Bay (did I just call that hack "Mr?") is just about the luckiest employed director in Hollywood. What I want to know is this: WHO LETS THIS GUY DIRECT MOVIES...AND WHY?
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-04-2001, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
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What about the highly anticipated film Pearl Harbor. You know- the one that graced us the finest film trailer in history. Its amazing that Bay conveyed more emotion in the 2 minute trailer than he did in the abysmal 3 hour running time of Pearl Harbor.

THe guy cant even let his actor walk out of a room or go to the bathroom without a friggin crane shot.

Bay=All style, no substance
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-05-2001, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by brunsiv:
What about the highly anticipated film Pearl Harbor. You know- the one that graced us the finest film trailer in history. Its amazing that Bay conveyed more emotion in the 2 minute trailer than he did in the abysmal 3 hour running time of Pearl Harbor.
I doubt Bay had anything to do with the trailer. Those are made by other companies that specialize in that. Often, I hate them because they spoil films - we wound up not seeing "The Negotiator" in the theater because the damn trailer gave away so much. But the unnamed editor who created the Pearl Harbor trailer deserved an Oscar of some type. He should be allowed to make an edit of this film and include it on some special boxed set. When the trailer was playing in the theaters, it moved my wife Vickie to tears. She turned to me and said "...if they f*** this up, I'll never forgive them". I don't think we'll ever see another film by this hack.
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-05-2001, 04:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Actually-
A director like Bay generally reserves the right to cut the trailer. (He did cut the trailer- i am looking for the quote again in the LA Times that proves it)-

Regardless-

I agree with you 100%-whomever cut that trailer-deserves an oscar-no question

What about the Cast Away trailer that revealed-EVERYTHING-including how he ends up after the island?

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post #6 of 17 Old 10-05-2001, 07:33 AM
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The scene is horrendously misframed, mistimed, and trying to maintain a tight close up on Nicolas Cage for 90% of the chase takes the viewer out of the scene.
I couldn't disagree more, nothing in that movie "takes the viewer" me "out of the scene". As a matter of fact I was shocked to find out that the car chase was added later (ala "Armageddon").

Just because a director likes to use a crane and move the camera in every shot doesn't make him a hack. His techniques really tend to keep a movie moving along at a brisk pace even during the dialogue sequences.

I didn't like "Armageddon", which can be traced back to the fact that there was no script (and it shows), but "Bad Boys" and "The Rock" are two of the better American action films of the 90s (so when do we get "Bad Boys: Criterion Collection" http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif)

As for "Pearl Harbor", I thought it was a very good film. The recreation of the attack was stunning, as was the Dolittle raid (I love the contrast of the Geisha in the foreground with the planes bombing far off over the mountains). Personally, I can't wait for the Director's Cut DVD.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-05-2001, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I think part of my problem with the chase in the rock is that it seems "tacked on" and out of place. I think the tacking was done by Bruckheimer-not Bay. I just think the chase is sloppy compared to the rest of the film.

There is no questioning Bay's visual style (overall) which is why i think its fun to pick on what i think is his one visual flub. Pearl Harbor LOOKS spectacular- i just thought that it was muddled and melodramatic.


OH-DaveAL-

the reason people let him direct movies is that they make a boatload of cash.
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post #8 of 17 Old 10-05-2001, 10:38 AM
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"My s*** always works sometimes!"

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**"Pearl Harbor" SPOILERS**

Regarding "Pearl Harbor", I wouldn't underestimate the hightened emotions that such a sudden attack on a country can have on people, especially having come to understand it much better myself these past few weeks. Having said that, I would've ended it in China or when the boys head back home, the ending was too much. Other than that I thought the movie was really good.
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-05-2001, 10:56 AM
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The Rock is a really excellent action film- minus this UNNECESSARY tacked on car chase sequence...
What about character development for Mason, Goodspeed and Womack? I think the chase and the meeting which ensues really builds those two characters. Consider this, Mason runs away and tears up "half the city" out of his mistrust of Womack, and his desire to meet his daughter (who provides his motivation for coming back to help Goodspeed at the end). This deepens our respect for Mason and humanizes a guy who would otherwise just be a captured British spy. Goodspeed, on the other hand, is extremely pissed off, but finds the composure to treat Mason with dignity in front of his daughter.

Without the character development in these two scenes a lot of other scenes would have been impacted. Consider the scene where Mason meets Hummel. We feel for Hummel because of the opening scene of the movie, we know that he is essentially a good man. Without the scene where Mason meets his daughter we don't get that same feeling about him. Why should he care about saving San Francisco?

The key to "The Rock" is the three main characters Hummel, Mason and Goodspeed. You like all of them and a "bad guy" doesn't actually appear until the very end of the movie. You are torn between who to root for until that point. The humanization of those characters is key in that scenario.
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-05-2001, 01:53 PM
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I don't like the dialog out of sync in this scene. I didn't notice it until I built my new theater with a much larger screen. One of the problems I've found with a higher end setup is that little mistakes are much easier to see.

The part of the chase where the FBI agent "Packston" says "He's hitting every f*cking thing in sight trying to block us." His mouth isn't moving at all like he's saying this phrase. It looks really funny when you watch the scene a few times. Besides, he's not trying to "block" them... he's just hitting things in his way.

Then the German (or perhaps Dutch) owner of the Hum-V calls Mason on the cell phone. He mutters something in German which sounds like it includes the word "Hummer". First, if Mason understands German, than he could have answered him in German. Why answer in English? I think it would have emphasized the point of him being this "unstoppable spy" if he would have resonded "I'm only borrowing your HumVee" in German and we see subtitles. That brings up my second point: how could Mason possibly know it was also called a "HumVee"? The owner referred to it as a "Hummer" and Mason has been in prison for a few decades.

There are several other things I don't like about the scene... overall not totally a wreck, but could have used some better editing.

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post #11 of 17 Old 10-05-2001, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
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minpin-

ditto on your comments-

and GREAT QUOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #12 of 17 Old 10-05-2001, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
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To show that i am not cynical-

the chase at the end of Bad Boys is fabulous. Extremely exciting, tense, and appropriately framed. Most importantly-the chase was neccessary to the plot (i.e. gotta get the bad guy)
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post #13 of 17 Old 10-06-2001, 01:33 PM
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Just a point of fact...the car chase in The Rock was a homage to the car chase in Steve McQueen's Bullitt. This was noted in an interview with Bay at the time that he made The Rock.

Many people consider Bullitt to have the finest car chase ever filmed for a hollywood movie.

Unfortunately when you "tear" it apart as far as editing, you will see that almost 50% of the chase is simply different camera angles of the same action. But it did win the Ac. Award for Film Editing that year.

Lee
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post #14 of 17 Old 10-06-2001, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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LeeAntin-

Your comment on the fact that the chase uses the same action over and over just at different angles is duely noted that it detracts from the visual flow and impact of the scene.

Another thing to note:

I listened to the commentary by Bay on the Rock DVD commentary and he does make reference to Bullitt. If this chase is an homage to the one in Bullitt- i have to wonder- did Bay even see the film?

THe effectiveness of the scene in Bullitt is due to the tense buildup of the scene. Director Peter Yates contrasts the predator/prey theme in that film with Steve McQueen and the baddies that are trailing him (or vice versa however you look at the scene). Yates takes great care to use subtle music and add small touches (i.e. putting on the seatbelts, driving gloves, mouthpieces)-and has the cars slowly prowl and stalk. San Francisco plays an immense part in BUllitt due to its steep streets (like a bird perched on a high branch and hiding among the trees (streets).

But once the gas in Bullitt is punched- the scene blasts off with a terrific visceral minimalistic style that takes great pains to photograph the chase so 1)location 2)the cars 3)the drivers are all seamlessly edited together to create the visual flow that i stated the Rock was sorely missing.

The chase in the Rock also borders on the ridiculous. Bay throws everything including the kitchen sink in this scene. (Old ladies, a trolley car, a WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL TEAM!(come on)) are in the path...

As for the best chase in film history- i look to Friedkin's the French Connection. (same stunt driver was used on both films-but his name escapes me). Bullitt however is a close second.

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post #15 of 17 Old 10-06-2001, 07:41 PM
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I know we are moving on a tangent away from the origonal post...but the subject is such an interesting one.

The name of the stunt driver that you can't remember is Bill Hickman. he drove the black Charger in Bullitt. he was also the primary stunt driver in the movie The Seven Ups.

The other great stunt driver that was used in Bullitt who we never see was Cary Loftin who is by many considered the finest stunt driver in the world. He did the driving on so many movies. Movies like Vanishing Point, Smokey and the Bandit and so many more. If a movie has a car chase in it, look for his name in the final credits...it will usually be there.

Most people think that Steve McQueen did all of his driving and that is not true. It did about 70% of it. What he didn't do were the jumps,the final scene where the Mustang goes into a long skid and finally stops and the launching of the Charger into the desert gas station. These were done by the afore mentioned Cary Loftin (he also is driving the motorcycle that "lays down" in front of the Mustang which driven by McQueen is doing over 70 mph)

Many people feel that the chase in Bullitt was the finest because it used no photographic tricks of any kind. No sped up film to make slow moving cars seem like they are going faster, etc. All the action was in real time. The cars when they were banging into each other were doing that stunt at almost 100 mph.

When both cars were "jumping" the hills of SF, speeds approached 50 mph and neither car had special suspension mods with the exception of HD shocks and springs that anyone could order in 1968.

Just a trivia fact...the Charger had a 440 c.i. engine while the Mustang had a 390 c.i. engine. Also, in the scene when McQueen looses control of the Mustang and goes "into the dirt" the true story of what happened, is that he totaled the Mustang forcing the movie production to go to the backup car.

The chase scene from The French Connection was truly an experience for the movie viewer because most of it was from the point of heading into traffic (going the wrong way) which is probably any motorists worst nightmare and why it was so effective. But ALL of the cars in the chase scene are driven by stunt drivers, not just the Pontiac that Hickman is driving. Every foot of the chase was coregraphed like a fine ballet. Not so with Bullitt.

Bullitt was a case of taking two factory hot rods that anyone could buy in 1968 and pushing them WAY past what the factory intended for their use.

Bullitt was the first. Every other movie to use the car chase is either trying to copy it, top it (never done in my personal estimation) or pay homage to it.

Lee
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post #16 of 17 Old 10-07-2001, 02:46 PM
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First, if Mason understands German, than he could have answered him in German.
Not necessarily. As you pointed out, he's been in jail for several decades, how often do you think he had a chance to practice speaking German? As a bilingual person I can tell you that if you haven't spoken a language for many years it may be easy for you to understand something, when you might not be able to actually speak it yourself.

Quote:
That brings up my second point: how could Mason possibly know it was also called a "HumVee"? The owner referred to it as a "Hummer" and Mason has been in prison for a few decades.
Mason had access to reading materials. For all we know he read "Road & Track" every month. He knew about the plight of Nelson Mandella, so obviously he wasn't completely cut off from the outside world. As a matter of fact he mentions going to the library in one scene if memory serves.

Let's face it, if you want to nitpick ANY film, it can be done. If you want to look for reasons to dislike "The Rock", be my guest. In the mean time I will be enjoying one of the best action films of all time.
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post #17 of 17 Old 10-07-2001, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I agree with Joekun on this argument. These are nitpicky points that could be technically argued with the greatest of all films.
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