Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none. I just love the photo, I took during our vacation to this city a couple of years ago. In this site, you will find articles from my autobiography, global warming, senior citizens issues, tourism, politics in PI, music appreciation and articles about our current experiences as retirees enjoying the "snow bird" lifestyle between US and the Philippines. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Rock-My Action Movie of the Month

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, director of Bad Boys, and stars Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris. It was produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, producers of Top Gun and Crimson Tide, 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.

Plot: A group of rogue Force Recon Marines led by disenchanted Brigadier General Frank 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, when a bead of the gas falls and breaks. The next day, Hummel and his men, along with more renegade Marines (Captains Frye and Darrow who have never previously served under Hummel) seize control of Alcatraz during a guided tour and take 81 tourists hostage in the prison cells. Hummel threatens to launch the stolen rockets against the population of San Francisco unless the government pays ransom and reparations to the families of Recon Marines, (using money the US earned via illegal weapons sales) 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 the bureau's top chemical weapons specialist, Dr. Stanley Goodspeed (Cage), who initially thinks he's consulting the team, but soon learns that he has to accompany the SEALs due to his specialisation in chemical warfare. Goodspeed's confidence, already shaky as he received only minimal training in combat, is further tested when his fiancee Carla reveals that she is pregnant.

Recognizing that any surface approach will be seen by Hummel's men, FBI Director James Womack (John Spencer) is forced to turn to federal prisoner John Mason (Connery), a former MI6 Agent and SAS Captain who has been illegally detained for decades by Womack and his predecessors. Mason is the only Alcatraz inmate ever to escape through the prison's uncharted tunnels, doing so in 1963, one year after imprisonment.

Although Goodspeed manages to convince Mason to cooperate with the FBI in return for a pardon from the US Attorney General, Womack reneges on the deal. While in custody under the supervison of Special Agent Ernest Paxton (William Forsythe), Mason manages to escape to see his estranged daughter Jade (Claire Forlani), who is the only proof that he exists. Goodspeed arrives and reveals to Mason's daughter that he is aiding the FBI. Womack initially only wants Mason to consult the SEALs, as he confides to Agent Paxton that he does not want Mason loose, but the FBI have no choice but to let Mason accompany the SEALs since he has committed the maps to memory.

The team infiltrates Alcatraz, through the underground tunnels with Mason's guidance. The SEALs however are surrounded and gunned down by Hummel's marines in a shower room after SEAL Commander Anderson (Michael Biehn) refuses to surrender (the fight is provoked by Marine Captains Frye and Darrow, later revealed to be following Hummel only for the money instead of honor), leaving only Mason and Goodspeed alive. Womack plans to abort the mission, but Paxton agrees to let them 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, since Mason's daughter is at risk from 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, which 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 (Womack revealed this to Paxton, earlier). Mason states he didn't return it, because he knew the FBI would "suicide" him, if he did. While Goodspeed and Mason search for the final two rockets, Hummel fires one of them but changes the coordinates at the last second causing the rocket to crash harmlessly out to sea. Facing Captains Frye and Darrow's (Gregory Sporleder and 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 their $1 million apiece, Frye and Darrow, along with Sergeant Crisp (Bokeem Woodbine), decide mutiny against Hummel and his second-in-command, Major Tom Baxter (David Morse). With Mason and Goodspeed watching from afar, Crisp attempts to secure Hummel on Darrows orders, but fails as the General is able to hold the NCO at gunpoint. When Baxter is asked to take a side, he appears to side with Frye, Darrow and Crisp. The Major says what a privilege it was serving with Hummel, then fires at the three rogues. In the ensuring firefight, Crisp is killed by Hummel but Baxter is killed while Hummel is fatally wounded and pulled away by Mason. Darrow and Fyre proceed 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, launching the Marine outside where he falls and is impaled on a fencepost. Goodspeed stows the last gas pearls from the warhead and takes a loose one, 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 and gives him an uppercut to the jaw, breaking the pearl and 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 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 tells Mason that Womack tore up his pardon, which Mason expected. When radioed, Goodspeed states that Mason is dead. Goodspeed tells Mason to go to his hotel room, take a change of clothes and $200 he stashed and run. Mason thanks Goodspeed, and gives him a note that holds the location of where he had stashed the microfilm. When the FBI arrives, Goodspeed is asked about Mason and says the man was "vaporized." Paxton simply grins, suspecting otherwise as he, too, sympathizes with Mason.

Goodspeed and his pregnant bride Carla (Vanessa Marcil) visit Fort Walton, Kansas, recovering the microfilm with a half-century of state secrets, including who actually killed John F. Kennedy.

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