When a rouge group of military men led by a renegade general Francis Hummel who threaten a nerve gas attack from Alcatraz in San Francisco, it is up to an ex-con John Patrick Mason and biochemist FBI agent Stanley Goodspeed to save everyone.
Francis Hummel and his second in command Major Tom Baxter lead a rogue group of US Marines against heavily guarded naval weapons depot to steal loaded rockets but manage to lose one of their own men in this process. They seize control of Alcatraz island which sees them take 81 innocent tourists hostage. Hummel threatens to launch the rockets against San Francisco unless the US government pays him $100 million from the military fund, which he will split with his men and the families who are under his command and the deaths were not compensated.
In order to try and stop Hummel the FBI develop a plan to retake the island using the Navy SEAL team and top chemical weapons expert Dr. Stanley Goodspeed, alongside John Mason the only ever inmate to escape from Alcatraz. Basically Mason is the key to the plan as they need to figure out how to get into Alcatraz and a bribe that he will be given a pardon for his crimes.
The action and twists and turns that the plot then takes with the attempted take down of Hummel and his team, creates good tension. We get a bit of everything in terms of action as well, the early car chase certainly sets the tone and pace of what will later occur. Which really does make it completely a top tier in the action genre.
The casting is absolutely fantastic and something that was spot on for the film to be such a joy to watch and a success overall. With Ed Harris so effortlessly taking on the bad guy role, but so commanding with it. I truly believe he is one of the most underrated actors ever, he is always fantastic and we really do fall for him being a General in this film. Nicolas Cage had a great run of form in films during the 90s and this is a particular highlight it has to be said, he really brings his a-game during this film and works so well with Sean Connery. I came across an amazing fan theory that Connery is actually his James Bond character who had been captured many years earlier and quite frankly I loved that! He was given British intelligence as a line of where he learnt his skills. When watching the film it made me remember just how amazing Sean Connery was as an actor and for whatever reason made me miss him (I know that sounds utterly crazy as it’s not like I knew or ever met him) but I guess its more because we don’t have anyone who is like him.
This was one of those films where I was left wondering how I hadn’t actually managed to watch it before this point and then rather annoyed with myself because I have missed out on many viewings over the years.