The Jakarta Post
A still from 'Baywatch.' (Paramount Pictures/File)
Baywatch is among the most-popular old TV series thanks to its humor, action and the not-so-small factor of fan-service (of the sexy variety). Another factor for its popularity includes the meme-drawing of David Hasselhoff.
The movie itself is not quite a reboot but more of a continuation of the original TV series. Directed by Seth Gordon, it features former Olympic swimming medallist-turned-lifeguard recruit Matt Brody (Zac Efron) clashing with Baywatch chief lieutenant Mitch Bucchanon (Dwayne Johnson), who is named after Hasselhoff’s character in the original series.
As the elite lifeguard unit hunts for new blood, they assemble a select group of chosen recruits from the many aspirants. Aside from Brody, the recruits include studious and strong-willed Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) and the not-quite-in-shape but relentless and tech-savvy Ronnie (Jon Bass). They are guided by Mitch along with Ronnie’s crush C.J. Parker (Kelly Rorchbach) and veteran Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera).
The Baywatch crew face internal troubles, including Brody’s struggle against the individualistic outlook of his life and Ronnie’s lack of confidence. Obstructive boss Don Thorpe (Rob Huebel) further adds hardships for the unit along with the daily business of beachgoers in trouble.
Conflicts with the police, especially with the confrontational Sgt. Ellerbee (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) add another dimension to the challenges Baywatch must solve. These problems complicate Mitch’s efforts to expose Victoria Leeds’ (Priyanka Chopra) nefarious plans for the hazardous drug, Flakka.
The movie has many points of humor, including the interplays between Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, along with the comedy of Ronnie’s mix of wildness and awkwardness. Delightful cameos also spark both nostalgia and amusement for those who are fond of the TV series.
However the movie’s plot is a bit simple, and the action sometimes utilizes too many shaky camera movements. Some jokes also fall a bit flat, and some acting performances are not too expressive or too overdone.
For its fan-service reputation of showing off sexiness, the movie is not too raunchy considering its R rating. The reason for the rating is likely some of the physical humor and gore that are often played for laughs. The humor is both adult and juvenile as was to be expected.
All in all, Baywatch is a movie that is enjoyable if your level of expectation is set at an appropriate level and you're willing to suspend your disbelief. (dan/kes)