Time was when some of us would run to movie theaters to escape from Baywatch.
But times have changed and it now begs the question: Is Baywatch the perfect summer movie? The spin-off from the tacky TV show looks like the most fun you can have at the beach, without actually going there.
An R-rated action comedy, it’s everything the CHiPS movie failed so dismally at—a raunchy reboot of an eighties TV show with just the right degree of self-mockery and a buddy duo from casting heaven, Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron.
The latter plays a cocky newbie who pairs with Johnson’s king lifeguard to bust open a drugs racket and save “the Baywatch brand”. Think 21 Jump Street in swimwear.
Baywatch might have the best special effects of the summer: Johnson’s pecs. “I didn’t think they were real,” gasps co-star Priyanka Chopra (ABC’s Quantico), who plays the villain Victoria Leeds. “I was looking at them like, ‘How is that even scientifically possible?’”
If it’s more serious, er, action on the beach you want then Dunkirk should do nicely, director Christopher Nolan’s epic about the evacuation of 400,000 Allied soldiers from the beaches of France in 1940.
Nolan describes it as “one of the greatest stories in human history, untold in modern cinema” and he’s assembled a top-notch cast: Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy. Oh, and Harry ‘One Direction’ Styles.
Shot mostly on IMAX cameras, it promises to combine astounding spectacle with wrenching human drama. Dunkirk is also the only summer blockbuster you can expect to see cropping up in awards season.
That said, critics should be dishing out raves to War Of Planet Of The Apes, director Matt Reeves’s follow up to his 2014 blockbuster, the well-received Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.
This time, ape Caesar (Andy Serkis) leads a full blown war against humans led by a Colonel Kurtz-like Woody Harrelson. “There are times it’s necessary to abandon our humanity to save humanity” he booms.
A blockbuster with a brain is also a good thing.
Don’t expect much cerebral stimulation from Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth movie in the robot wars franchise, now including a paycheck-grabbing Anthony Hopkins who has described director Michael Bay as a “genius”. Must have been a very large pay check.
King Arthur puts in a cameo appearance as we learn about the Transformers’ “secret history on earth” but that’s not the only outing for the medieval legend this summer.
Guy Ritchie is hoping his King Arthur blockbuster starring Charlie Hunnam will be a hit after his flop Man From U.N.C.L.E but a confusing trailer (any one know what a present day-inhabiting Eric Bana is doing?) suggests the rumors of a chaotic shoot are true. Hunnam himself admitted “there was uncertainty about the tone”.
Ritchie better crack on with his recently announced live-action Aladdin with Will Smith (although that project sounds very weird).
In the superhero wars, Spider-Man: Homecoming should sling past Wonder Woman at the box office, notching up another victory for Marvel over dreary D.C Comics.
Word is that the first solo outing for Tom Holland’s new teenage Spidey has tested through the roof for Sony Pictures—having Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man as a co-star can’t hurt. By contrast, the World War One-set Wonder Woman with Gal Gadot just looks grim.
If it’s female empowerment you want, check out Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron as an icy blonde, ass-kicking British agent dropped into Berlin during the death throes of the Cold War.
Theron herself describes it as “punk rock noir”. Sofia Boutella plays a French operative with whom she tangles—tongues and all.
It’s gearing up to be a busy summer for the sultry French-Algerian actress. She also plays the villain in the promising looking The Mummy reboot with Tom Cruise.
Still, when it comes to coolest movie of the summer one movie should leave everything in the shade: Baby Driver.
Reaction to Baby Driver when it premiered at SXSW in March was so positive that TriStar bumped the release date of Edgar Wright’s heist thriller romance—starring Ansel Elgert as a tinnitus-suffering getaway driver—from August to June.
It boasts a knock-out cast—Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Jon Hamm—and a killer soundtrack. Wright describes it as a homage to the “holy trinity” of nineties heist films Heat, Point Break and Reservoir Dogs.
Even the Baywatch crew can’t compete with that.