'Baywatch' is perfect cinema viewing this summer: what could be better than the beach combined with slow-motion lifeguards?
The phrase “sun’s out, guns out” has never been more appropriate when describing this summers beach blockbuster Baywatch. Based upon the television classic from the 90s, the wardrobe department must have saved an absolute fortune on the lack of material the actors wore for the majority of the film. I never watched the television series, but I feel like I learned enough about it from Friends, which taught me everything I needed to know about life; it is mostly just lifeguards running in slow-motion on a beach. So, did I just want to see this film for a shirtless Zac Efron? Perhaps. Was it worth it? Oh yes.
And yet there is more to Zac Efron’s role in this film than just his body (once you get over the initial shock of the sight of his abs). Playing character Matt Brody, originally portrayed by David Charvet, he is your typical new boy at the beach; a once successful swimming star who rocks up in Florida believing he already has what it takes to protect the bay. But what follows is an, albeit fairly predictable, journey he must take to become a good lifeguard, and a better person for it, of course. It is not a particularly stretching role for Efron to take on, yet he tackles it well enough for such a light-hearted blockbuster. And I must once again mention, goggling at his chest makes up a large portion of this film.
In a similar vein, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was also very much part of the “guns out” brigade. As character Mitch Buchannan, the role famously originated by David Hasselhoff, he is the beloved leader of the Emerald Bay lifeguards, protecting and serving all those who step foot on the beach; and really going above and beyond, it seems to me, whether this be rescuing girls from a boat on fire, or jumping into otherwise dangerous waters. Johnson seems to be proving his acting skills more and more these days, especially given his recent success as demigod Maui in Disney’s Moana over Christmas. His role in Baywatch is full of impressive lifesaving and equally impressive biceps, which add both to the story and the aesthetic appeal of this movie.
The plot was fairly simple, involving the Baywatch team attempting to stop a drug heist – not necessarily what you’d expect from a film you’d been promised was primarily about the beach. Yet, it was fairly entertaining, although somewhat forgettable. What really stood out in this film were the obvious homages to the television series, mostly the aforementioned slow-motion running, of which there was rather a lot throughout the movie. There was even a brief cameo by the great Hoff himself. The cast was also fantastic, featuring Alexandra Daddario, of Percy Jackson fame, as Efron’s love interest Summer Quinn. The lovable team of lifeguards is really what holds your attention as the movie progresses past Zac Efron’s pecs, and you genuinely come to care about some of these characters which I was not expecting.
So, if you’re looking for some summer fun, or just want to gaze upon Zac Efron’s ripped body, then Baywatch is the film to go for!
Baywatch (2017), directed by Seth Gordon, is distributed in the UK by Paramount Pictures. Certificate 15.