Baywatch (2017) Review

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Summary: Lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) and a brash new recruit (Zac Efron) uncover a criminal plot that threatens the future of the bay.
Baywatch premieres May 25, 2017.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Dwayne Johnson as Mitch Buchannon. He is the leader of his group of Lifeguards. He’s larger than life (as Johnson often is), he’s funny, he cares for his team and he’s a bit of rebellious guy. He protects his Bay at all costs. Mitch gets a bit overzealous when it comes to finding out the truth of the dangers going on in the bay, he doesn’t really think of the consequences because in his mind, his long term goal is to protect the Bay, he doesn’t care what trouble he might get into just to figure something out now. He’s a bit tough love, especially when it comes to his relationship with Efron’s character, he’s a hard mentor but he does it because he cares. I love Dwayne Johnson, I think he’s a good actor and a fun action star. This movie allows him to combine his physical strength and his ability to be really funny. Some of the things he says are ridiculous but they work because of how he delivers them.
  • Zac Efron as Matt Brody. He starts off as a major tool. He joins the team as it would be a good PR opportunity and he thinks it just is given to him due to him being a famous Olympic medalist. However, his reputation is crap due to his drunken antics. He thinks he owns the place, he flirts and shows off but he learns that it’s not that easy and he continues to make stupid decisions. But as the film goes on, we do see a change. I like Zac Efron for the most part, I think he has good comedic timing, I’ve never really found him attractive but his eyes are soooo pretty. He had great father/son chemistry with Dwayne Johnson and he was good in this role of a dumb, “hot”, guy who in the beginning is rude and kind of mean until he learns his lesson as the film goes on.
  • Supporting Cast.
    • Alexandra Daddario as Summer Quinn. She starts off as a surfer but joins the lifeguard team, she’s a pretty tough girl and witty, she’s able to banter with Brody. She’s meant to be his love interest and while they give her a bit more to do than the others, she’s still kind of just there.
    • Priyanka Chopra as Victoria Leeds. She’s the new owner of the Huntley club on the Bay. She wears some of the best clothes the entire film and so beautiful! But she is a trip. All I will.
    • Kelly Rohrbach as C.J Parker. She is already a Lifeguard, apparently has some daddy issues due a line in the beginning but she’s also just there. She’s helpful in some ways but she’s also there to be a love interest and to look good in her clothes. She’s cute and likable though so that’s a plus.
    • Ilfenesh Hadera as Stephanie Holden. The wiki says she was Mitch’s love interest… where? lol there may have been looks and there was one kiss as a distraction BUT nothing outside of that happened to make me think there was actual interest. If there’s a sequel, they should do better at highlighting her. I liked her from what we saw, but she had such a small part but that she was background. Ilfaensh Hadera looked great and she was likable.
    • Jon Bass as Ronnie Greenbaum. We first meet him and he’s a tech guy, a bit awkward and goofy but really endearing. He wants to be a Lifeguard for personal reasons but also because he has a major crush on C.J. I think he was one of the better side characters in the beginning but then he too gets pushed to the side a bit for Mitch and Brody and their action antics. He’s funny, he has a great funny scene in the beginning with a chair…cringey but funny.
The Humor. It’s funny, especially in the beginning. Johnson immediately doesn’t like Brody and he continues this one joke throughout the film and it didn’t get old to me, but for some it might. Also, Ronnie was really funny in that endearing kind of way. Hannibal Burress is in this film and outside of not always knowing what he said, he’s really funny. There are great scenes between the team and the Bay’s Police Officer… there was a lot of moments I liked and thought were funny. The Morgue Scene.
The Cinematography/ The Direction. So the film looks really good. Because they’re on the beach, the colors are so bright, especially the reds and blues, the OCEAN and people’s eyes, wow. Also, the direction is great. There are scenes where characters are being lifeguards and jumping into the water and they put it in slow motion, so we can truly see their form of jumping from the rocks/boats/whatever into the water. It was really cool. When you’re going to save someone it’s so fast, which when we see that part it is, because that’s how it goes, but the getting there, they make sure we see it and I liked that. There was a lot of slow motion but it wasn’t gratuitous.
The Music. To be honest, it could be really annoying BUT because we’re on the beach and this is an action/comedy it fits and it’s fun. They’re mostly recognizable songs to the point where you may bounce a little in your seat and a good thing is that most of the time they’re playing at a party, so it has a reason.
Entertainment. If you want fun! You will get it, if this is your idea of a fun time in a movie. It’s funny, it looks really good, the characters are likable and you might leave smiling, unless you just didn’t like it.
Cons:
The Supporting Cast. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all good, I like them all BUT they definitely are second fiddle to Johnson and Efron which is kind of sad because the Lifeguard team are interesting and I think way more interesting then some of the banter between Johnson and Efron. I wanted to see more with Stephanie, or see what Ronnie and C.J were getting into. Summer was around more due to her obvious upcoming connection with Brody but still. I think it was a missed opportunity.
The Villain. I don’t want to spoil who it is but at first it seemed pretty straight forward but then they were involved in many other things like drugs but they got upset when someone called them a “dealer”, which you can argue they were upset because of the term but still. Also, they were hamming it up and not in a good way. I think they are very good and I like them otherwise, but here, it was so cringey. I think there were a few scenes where I enjoyed seeing them but most of the time, I mostly scrunched up my face watching them.
The Story. So the story has a few things going on, it’s an action movie with all of the stunts they do, the jetski chases, the fighting scenes, and of course all of the lifeguard stuff (though there really isn’t a lot of that), then there is sort of romance between Brody and Summer and two other people (who I think we should have spent more time with). Basically, Mitch and his team are recruiting new lifeguards, Brody joins thinking because he used to be an Olympic medalist that he’s on the team, Mitch puts him through but ya know, he’s “the best” so… but they learn that someone is peddling big drugs in the Bay, so they stretch their lifeguard duties, not to mention, you have a bit of romance going on in two storylines, you have some “buddy cop” stuff going on with Mitch and Brody where he’s trying to teach him how to be better… it’s a lot and it kind of makes it unfocused. It doesn’t know what it wants to be.
The Humor. While some of it is good, a lot of does not hit the marks it wants too. Some of it gets a bit old, or annoying. Also, I think it teeters the line between trying to be a hard comedic rated R film and not wanting to cross that line. It should have just went all the way, similar to what 21 Jump Street did, but it seemed a bit too afraid to do it most times, but at other random times, it did like the scene in the morgue. Other times, it didn’t work.
Unfocused. This movie wanted to be a lot of different things. It wanted to be an action movie, a romantic comedy,  a buddy comedy, a mentor/student type story. There’s a lot and while it sort of hits all of those points, it doesn’t mesh well together, at least not all the time.
Overall, I had a fun time watching Baywatch. It’s a nice film to watch with your friends, it’ll probably get some laughs, depending on what tickles your funny bone. The chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron is good and they’re obviously the leads of the film as the other characters get sidelined. The look of the film is really nice and the direction is cool, especially with some of the action shots and the actual lifeguard parts. The humor is good for the most part and all of the characters are likable. But it does suffer from being an unfocused film from trying to be too many things at once, the story is cliche and gets a bit dumb, the supporting characters are likable but they are just there, filler pieces. If you are looking for a fun time, then this will be it.
Rating: 2.7 out of 5 stars.
Did you used to watch the original TV Series? Are you interested in seeing this movie?
What’s your favorite Dwayne Johnson film??
Let me know in the comments below!
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