Free Press Journal

Baywatch: Comic reboot


Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Jon Bass, Ilfenesh Hadera, Oscar Nunez, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hannibal Buress, Rob Huebel, David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson

Director: Seth Gordon

Years ago, when some of you gentle readers, were not born, a clever young man named David Hasselhof stumbled on a winning formula – bikini babes and bravery – which dazzled TV viewers, mostly male I daresay, worldwide. This widescreen reboot tries to capture the spirit of the hit TV series with mixed results. The sun swept beach, birds of the feathered and two legged variety, surfboards and lifeguards feature in the pre-credits sequence with chief lifeguard Mitch (Dwayne Johnson) Buchanan towering head and shoulders over all he surveys.

Soon, a Lionel Richie song wafts over the soundtrack as a clumsy guy called Ronnie (Jon Bass) Greenbaum watches skimpily dressed GORGEOUS girls go by in s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n. Ronnie’s set his sights on one girl in particular C J (Kelly Rohrbach in the role immortalised by Pamela Anderson who returns at the very end, covered from head to toe, in s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n.)

The lifeguards such, spectacular abs!) and the high-tech equipment they have at their disposal to save lives shows the developing countries have a long long way to go before we catch up in terms of giving citizens the good life. Consider too, how the lifeguards show up when most needed, to be proudly reminded “you don’t just protect the bay, you are the bay.”

There’s also the customary antagonist, a cop named Sgt Ellerbee (Yahya Abdul Mateen) who raises jurisdictional issues and can be bribed for an ice-cream by Matt (Zac Efron, HOT!) Brody who transits from cocky medal winner to insecure trainee to confident hero who declares, “We are Baywatch. We save lives” to his love interest and fellow intern Summer (Alexandra Daddario)

Where’s our very own Priyanka Chopra in all this? She’s there right from the start, with corrupt politicians, oozing oomph in a meaty role as nightclub owner Victoria Leeds, who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

Like issuing orders to kill, without batting an eyelash. Ooh, our femme fatale takes herself very seriously, as does Mitch in his job   rescuing people from boats set on fire, and swimmers from the sea. It’s a good thing this self-referential remake never takes itself seriously, slathering gross humour via cross-dressing Matt and a dead man’s genitals ye gads!)  and oh, themes of friendship, bravery and teamwork too.