"Another Repulsive Reboot from TV"
What You Need To Know:
BAYWATCH is big and brash, and delivers on its promise to feature lots of ridiculously fit actors and model in swimming suits. As far as the plot goes, there’s very little in this movie, and stars Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron have no onscreen chemistry. The biggest problem with BAYWATCH is that it fully embraces the TV program’s pop-culture reputation for being an avenue for ogling and objectifying women and men. There’s virtually nothing redemptive about BAYWATCH, and the offensive content ultimately makes it abhorrent.
BAYWATCH is an action comedy based on the internationally popular 90s television program starring David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson. This version stars Dwayne Johnson as Mitch Buchanan, a Baywatch lifeguard who takes his job very, very seriously and leads a team of other lifeguards, including C.J. and Stephanie.
It’s tryout season, and Mitch is able to take on three new recruits to join the Baywatch team. After going through a grueling obstacle course, a few recruits make the cut, including Summer, a tough surfer, and the rather chubby and awkward Ronnie, who only tried out because he has a crush on C.J., the beautiful blonde lifeguard. Against his protests, Mitch’s boss orders him to give the third position to a disgraced Olympic swimmer, Matt Brody (Zac Efron), who needs the job to complete his court-ordered community service.
Mitch immediately clashes with Matt, who thinks that just because he can swim, he’s cut out to be a Baywatch lifeguard. Mitch, C.J. and Stephanie quickly show Matt, and the new recruits Ronnie and Summer what working on Baywatch really requires. Stopping thieves, rescuing people from boats on fire, resuscitating nearly drowned swimmers are just a few of the many things required of a Baywatch lifeguard.
When Mitch notices that drugs in plastic bags have been washing ashore on his beach, he suspects that the culprit is Victoria Leeds, the new owner of a local club down the beach. Instead of calling the police, Mitch decides to do his own investigation with his team. Along the way however, Matt keeps putting his own interest above the team’s.
Will Matt ruin the team’s chances of proving Victoria is dealing drugs. Will Matt also botch his last chance at finding a place where he belongs?
BAYWATCH is big and brash, and delivers on its promise to feature lots of ridiculously fit actors and models in tight and revealing swimsuits. As far as plot goes, there’s little to none in this movie. There’s virtually no mystery and suspense, and even the action is lifeless. The comedic moments rely heavily on gross genital humor and awkward interactions between budding love interests. Also, instead of fully embracing the ridiculousness of the movie’s entire premise, it tries to create a serious theme about friendship and teamwork. However, Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron don’t have near enough onscreen chemistry to deliver anything convincing.
There are some light Christian references, and the Baywatch team go above and beyond the call of duty to help protect people. However, the villain is an evil business owner whose dastardly plan is to make the beach privately owned. While she does murder to accomplish her plan, the anti-capitalist attitude toward the villain is tiresome. Also, [SPOILER ALERT] Dwayne Johnson’s character Mitch beats the villain by literally blowing her up with a giant firework. Was she an evil drug dealing murderer? Yes! But, this celebration of death is entirely inappropriate, especially when associated with a profession like Lifeguarding, which is about saving lives, not taking them.
The biggest problem with BAYWATCH is that it fully embraces the TV program’s pop-culture reputation for being an avenue for ogling and objectifying women and men, from slow motion beach runs of scantily clad women, to an extended scene showing a dead man’s genitals. Similar to the recent CHIPS remake, it’s sad that filmmakers are taking fun hit shows from the past and infusing them with vulgar humor and loads of foul language.