Director: Seth Gordon
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron & Alexandra Daddario
Synopsis: Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon butts heads with a brash new recruit, as they uncover a criminal plot that threatens the future of the bay.
Rating: 15 Duration: 116 minutes Release date: 21 September (Digital download) & 25 September (DVD) UK
You’ve got to hand it to Dwayne Johnson. The man really does make shit films 10 times better just by being on the screen. His sheer presence elevates any film he has been in and when he talks, god damn do you listen. There is a wonderful feeling that Johnson is a genuinely nice guy and the people he encounters are a testament to that. This is showcased in his films, and none more so than in Baywatch where he upgrades some truly B-grade material and makes it sound almost Shakespearian.
Baywatch, like many of the TV shows from the late 80’s and early 90’s was a show that was really pretty rubbish in all honesty. I remember it being broadcast on a Saturday night in the UK and for the most part I wasn’t allowed to watch it. So, it would be put on in five-minute bursts when my parents were out of the room and back then I loved it, this was some prime-time shit for me and I never thought TV could get any better. Of course I was wrong, but this came from a love of shows like The A-Team and Knightrider, the likes of which I will also now admit are pretty rubbish. And so, some 20 years later the shows of my youth are being remade into Hollywood blockbusters! A cause for celebration right? Well, not quite.
For all their good intent, not many of these updates have been very good. See Starsky & Hutch, the Dukes of Hazzard, Lost in Space, Wild Wild West and CHIPS for example. Then you have 21 Jump Street and its sequel. Both films are genuinely funny, have likeable leads and ramp things up to a level of silliness that it’s impossible not to enjoy them. Baywatch wants to be Jump Street so badly, it’s more or less copied the model set out by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Only, Baywatch doesn’t have such talented directors or writers and has nothing close to the camaraderie that Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum possess. That’s not to say it’s a bad film, because at times it is very funny, it’s just that it doesn’t quite know what to do with itself.
The first ten minutes are arguably the films worst, and showcase how over the top Baywatch will be when the film’s title literally bursts out of the water. It’s almost purpose-built to show how much of the film Dwayne Johnson will be carrying on his mighty shoulders. Not to dwell too much on the point, but if it wasn’t for the former wrestling superstar then this film would be genuinely awful. The fact that he can make Zac Efron seem like a credible actor is testament to his ability.
There was some controversy upon the films release at the cinema, mainly the fact that it did some good box office but was slated on sites like Rotten Tomatoes and the IMDb. The old “we made this for the fans” argument was raised from the film’s star, but it’s a shabby defence at the best of times. Ultimately, Baywatch is an enjoyable film despite its faults and does provide some genuine laughs, mostly at the expense of Zac Efron, and it’s hard to argue with a film that wears its colours so proudly on its heavily tattooed sleeve.
The single disc DVD edition features the original theatrical cut and does not have the extended cut unfortunately.
There are deleted and extended scenes, as well as one feature – Continuing the Legacy, which takes a look back at the original TV show and has some nice words for everyone involved.
Neither of the extras on the disc are of particular note though and anyone in need of bonus content will head to the Blu-ray release instead.