...The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power and the growth of corporate propaganda against democracy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Rock


The Rock is a 1996 action film that primarily takes place on Alcatraz Island and in the San Francisco Bay area. It was directed by Michael Bay and stars Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris. It was produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and released through Hollywood Pictures. The film is dedicated to Simpson,[2] who died five months before its release. This was the first film on which Cage and Bruckheimer worked together.


A group of rogue Force Recon Marines led by disenchanted Brigadier General Francis X Hummel (Harris) seize a stockpile of deadly VX gas–armed rockets from a heavily guarded military bunker, reluctantly leaving one of their men to die in the process. The next day, Hummel and his men seize control of Alcatraz Island during a guided tour and take 81 tourists hostage in the prison cells. Hummel then threatens the Pentagon with launching the stolen rockets against the population of San Francisco unless the government pays ransom and reparations to the families of Recon Marines who died on illegal, clandestine missions under his command and whose deaths were not honored. The Pentagon and FBI develop a plan to retake the island with a Navy SEAL Team, enlisting chemical weapons specialist Dr. Stanley Goodspeed (Cage), who initially thinks he's consulting the team, but soon learns he's being recruited due to his specialisation in chemical warfare.


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Recognizing that any surface approach will be seen by Hummel's men, FBI Director Womack (John Spencer) is forced to turn to Federal prisoner John Mason (Connery), a former MI6 Agent and SAS Captain whom Womack has illegally detained for decades and the only inmate of Alcatraz to ever successfully escape through Alcatraz's uncharted tunnels. Mason, while in custody under the supervison of Special Agent Ernest Paxton (William Forsythe) manages to escape to see his estranged daughter (Claire Forlani). Goodspeed arrives and feigns to Mason's daughter that he is aiding the FBI, convincing Mason to cooperate to develop a plan for infiltration. Womack soon recognizes that the team would only succeed with Mason on the mission as well.

The team infiltrates Alcatraz, through the underground tunnels with Mason's guidance. They are ambushed by Hummel's marines in a shower room, killing all the SEALs and leaving only Mason and Goodspeed alive. Paxton plans to abort the mission, but Womack, who is aware of Mason's MI6 and SAS background, agrees to let them continue saying that Mason and Goodspeed are their last hope. Mason attempts to leave the prison, but Goodspeed manages to convince him to help him defuse the rockets. Using Mason's knowledge of the prison, they quietly eliminate several small teams of marines and disable 12 of the 15 rockets, until Hummel threatens over the loudspeaker to execute a hostage if the remaining "Navy SEALs" do not surrender and return the guidance chips from the rockets. Only Mason surrenders to Hummel, trying to buy Goodspeed some time. Though Goodspeed manages to disable another rocket, the Marines capture him shortly thereafter. With the incursion team lost, the military readies a backup plan: an air strike by F/A-18's with Thermite plasma, that will neutralize the poison gas but kill everyone on the island including the hostages.

As Mason uses his unique experience to escape from their cells, he reveals why he was held there for so many years — for stealing a microfilm of the United States' most closely guarded secrets, including the Roswell UFO incident and the John F. Kennedy assassination. While they search for the final two rockets, Hummel fires one of them but changes the coordinates at the last second causing the rocket to crash land harmlessly out to sea. Facing Captains Frye and Darrow's (Gregory Sporleder & Tony Todd) frustration, Hummel explains that their bluff failed and that he refuses to harm innocent civilians. He orders them to exit Alcatraz with a few hostages and the remaining VX rockets to cover their retreat, while he'll stay, personally assuming blame. Realizing that they will not be paid, Frye and Darrow, along with Sergeant Crisp (Bokeem Woodbine) go rogue and gun down Hummel and his second-in-command Major Tom Baxter (David Morse), proceeding with the plan to fire on San Francisco. With his last breath, Hummel tells Goodspeed the location of the last rocket. As the jets approach, Darrow is killed when Goodspeed fires the last disarmed rocket into him. Goodspeed takes a loose gas pearl from the warhead, but is then attacked by Frye who begins to strangle Goodspeed to death. Using the VX to defend himself, Goodspeed shoves the gas pearl into Frye's mouth, exposing both of them to the gas. Goodspeed injects himself in the heart with atropine as Frye dies from the VX gas. Goodspeed then lights green flares to signal that the threat is over, but only after one of the pilots fires, sending Goodspeed's body flying into the sea. The early detonation hits the back of the island and harms no-one else.

Mason reappears to pull the unconscious Goodspeed to shore. When he recovers, Goodspeed suggests that Mason escape before the FBI arrive, as Womack tore up his pardon from prison; Goodspeed will tell Womack that Mason was "vaporized". Mason thanks Goodspeed, and gives him a note that holds the location of where he had stashed the microfilm. The film ends with Goodspeed and his pregnant bride Carla (Vanessa Marcil) in Fort Walton, Kansas, recovering the microfilm with a half century of state secrets, including who actually killed John F. Kennedy.

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