From Transporter and Lethal Weapon, to Rush Hour and Taken, famous film franchises venturing onto the tellybox is no rare event, with each example given having varying degrees of success in doing their filmic counterparts justice. But what happens when an internationally loved and popular TV powerhouse such as Baywatch takes its chances on the silver screen?
If you aren’t acquainted with the premises of Baywatch or if it was a wee bit before your time, it was an action drama series with legions of fans that ran from 1989, throughout the nineties until its cancellation in 2001. The popularity of the show, which revolved around the exploits – including shark attacks and serial killers – of a close-knit team of lifeguards as they safeguarded a busy LA beach can be attributed to the sheer sun-kissed sex appeal that the show oozed.
Whilst the American TV show starred household names Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff, Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson A.K.A ‘The Rock’ take their turn at bringing wise cracking comedy and thrilling action to the movie adaption. Johnson takes up the mantle from The Hoff as Mitch, a well-seasoned and wise lifeguard, who does things by the book, believing that being a Baywatch lifeguard is more than a mere job, but a way of life. Zac Efron plays a cocky and arrogant Olympic gold medalist swimmer, Matt Brody, who has fallen spectacularly from grace and is sent to Baywatch as part of a community service gig whilst serving as ‘good PR’ for the beach.
Alongside new trainees, smart and sassy Summer (Alexandra Daddario) and amazingly awkward Ronnie (Jon Bass), the Baywatch lifeguard team take on the task of foiling the plans of Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra), a formidable businesswoman covertly running an expensive drugs empire near the Baywatch beach.
Let’s get one thing straight- Baywatch is never going to win any Oscars. With scantily clad, leggy actresses sporting barely-there bikinis and ab-tastic actors solely carrying the film, coupled with the sun-drenched sandy setting, the film is as shallow, simple and superficial as The Rock is hench. You may find yourself asking what’s wrong with bikinis, bum, boobs and meaty muscle? Well frankly, nothing, it’s just if you’re after a film with substance this ain’t it.
If you were a fan of the old Baywatch TV series or are just looking for a summer movie smiler then this might be right up you’re alley. The Rock is the winning gem in the cast, pulling off the serious lifeguard perfectly, whilst flashing his pearly whites as he takes Efron’s character down a much needed peg or two with some fantastic insults and quick-fire one-liners.
Whereas Jon Bass also succeeds at making audiences scoff with laughter at his character’s disastrous dance moves, Iffenesh Hadera didn’t get nearly enough screen-time as the sizzling Stephaine, another experienced lifeguard.
The film is very much a coming-of-age movie, which, at times is a little cliche, following Brody as he embarks on a journey from selfishness to self-discovery winding up at the destination of mastering not to be a complete and utter douche bag. Mitch’s hilarious name-calling towards Brody is easy to relate to comedy, utilising many pop culture references, with Brody being referred to Bieber, One Direction and Jonas Brother amongst other things.
Unfortunately much of the comedy gold was already revealed within the trailers but Baywatch does have its moments. Designed to mock the TV original, Baywatch is perfectly parodic, with Summer posing the question on all our lips, why does CJ (formerly played by Pamela Anderson and now by Kelly Rohrbach) always look like she’s running in slow-mo?!
Yes, some may find the humour a little crass, whilst others might think not enough comedy is brought to the table, but with some high-stake action scenes, well-timed cameos from The Hoff and Anderson, a tongue-in-cheek script and a few explosions thrown into the mix, Baywatch provides some sunny escapism.