Sometimes you need to see a bad film to appreciate the good ones. Of course, with cinema prices nowadays, one can only afford to see the good ones. Why waste ten pound (at the least) on a naff film? However, once in a while, a bad film is good for the mind’s equilibrium. And, let there be no doubt about it, ‘Baywatch’ is a bad film. Not even The Rock can save this update of a nostalgic property from sinking. Yes, Dwayne Johnson has been in some terrible films. But he’s shone through, his natural charisma curtailing the gap between the screen and the viewer. Here, however, he’s lost among the flotsam and jetsam of awful jokes, dialogue, plot, direction, editing…I could go on.
Let me ask you one question: who wanted an update of ‘Baywatch’? I used to watch ‘Baywatch’ on a Saturday afternoon whilst having dinner at my friends’ house (either that or ‘The Adventures of Lois and Clark’). Of course, we didn’t watch it for the plot. We watched it for bouncing mammaries. We were just reaching puberty, okay! But now, bouncing mammaries are merely a click away on the internet. I can’t think of any other reason to update ‘Baywatch.’ And, apparently, neither could anyone involved with said update. They’ve stolen the plot from ’21 Jump Street,’ a wise starting point for anyone who wants to take an ancient TV property and make it into a decent film. They’ve also turned ‘Baywatch’ into an action comedy. I don’t remember much action or comedy in the original ‘Baywatch,’ actually.
“That sounds like an entertaining but farfetched TV programme”
Fortunately, there isn’t much action or comedy in ‘Baywatch.’ When the action happens, it’s poorly edited and hard to follow. When the comedy happens, it fails to hit the funny bone and drags on and on. Honestly, there’s a string of jokes about not giving a f**k in the first ten minutes of the film that don’t start out at funny. They are not funny at any point. The penis jokes run thin in the first fifteen minutes, starting with a man getting his penis stuck in a beach bench. Unusually, you get to see a penis (on a corpse), which is the only thing I’ll remember from this film. Penises are often absent from Hollywood films! We want more penises in films! To even things out, you know? How often do you see breasts in films? All too often…
But I’ve lost my train of thought…like the writers lost the point of ‘Baywatch’ before, during and after the script was finished. It veers between strained and unfunny comedy to a veil of seriousness, and the two directions grind against each other like the San Andreas fault. And the resulting earthquake causes a mess of a film. Like I said, Dwayne’s natural charisma is subsumed by the chaos unfurling around him. And if The Rock isn’t likeable, no one else has a chance. Zac Efron has a supposed character arc, but he’s unlikeable from the start. The girls are there for eye candy, and little more. It’s strange that ‘Baywatch’ is released just before ‘Wonder Woman,’ a big screen adaptation for a female superhero. ‘Baywatch’ takes women’s televisual rights back to the early ‘90s, when it was acceptable for women to merely look good and add little to the plot.
For a remake/update of an old TV/film property to work, it has to add something to the original property. Maybe take it in a new direction, put an interesting spin on it, etc. It’s okay to poke fun at the original whilst doing so. ‘Baywatch’ attempts to poke fun at the original, by having people comment on girls moving in slow-motion and including cameos from Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff. They seem to take it in good humour, but the jokes pointed at them aren’t funny. So, on the first count, ‘Baywatch’ fails at being a comedy. It fails to put a fresh spin on ‘Baywach.’ To be fair, it’s hard to put an interesting spin on ‘Baywatch.’ It fails to create innovative action sequences. It fails to create interesting characters. As the credits rolled, I could but wonder: what was the point? But, then again, it will make the next great film I watch that much better…
VERDICT: 2/10. Beaches ain’t ready, and neither were the people behind the big screen version of ‘Baywatch.’ You’ll wonder why they even bothered.
What did you think of ‘Baywatch’ (2017)? Leave your thoughts below!