Baywatch was a classic piece of escapist entertainment back in the day, and forget Pamela Anderson. For me, Erika Eleniak was my Baywatch babe, even if her breasts were similarly fake. Plus, don’t forget Billy Warlock in the brilliant Brian Yuzna horror movie, Society.
When I first heard about this new incarnation, I figured it’d go the way of a tame 12-certificate remake, with a bit of “T ‘n’ A” for the adults and some smutty innuendo that would push it into that certificate and avoid the PG-cert, that in the US is considered box-office death for a non-CGI film. But I was wrong, and it was laden with f-words and designed as a 15-cert movie (or R-rated in the US).
I knew Dwayne Johnson would play David Hasselhoff‘s Mitch Buchannon character, but I didn’t remember Matt Brody (played here by Zac Efron, and in the TV series by David Charvet), and was more familiar with Warlock’s Eddie Kramer. Okay, so Brody was in it for more episodes than Kramer, but by the time Brody joined the characters, I was in my last year of University and I was losing interest in the show.
‘Rounding’ out the new cast, Priyanka Chopra is Victoria Leeds, owner of the fancy Huntley Club, Pamela’s chracter CJ Parker now takes the form of Kelly Rohrbach (who?) and Johnson is reunited with his San Andreas ‘daughter’, Alexandra Daddario, as Summer Quinn. Cue Jerry Keller’s 1959 hit, Here Comes Summer… well, not on this film, but that would’ve helped.
Zac tells the Mitch and Stephanie (Ilfenesh Hadera) they should hire him because “I’m Matt Brody” (since he’s an Olympic success who since went to seed, to which comes the reply, “We know, and we still don’t give a fuck” and there’s a lot of that sort of thing. I can swear like the best of them, but when it happens every other sentence, you’re left feeling like you’re watching Mrs Brown’s Boys rather than Baywatch.
Elsewhere this film’s token ‘fat bloke’, Ronnie (Jon Bass) gets his ‘dick’ trapped in a sun lounger and wants his friend to push it back, so it’s not easy when CJ’s trying to make him think unsexy thoughts while her breasts are staring at him.
Every lifesaving shot is in slo-mo, so that’s the film easily speeded-up at those times, and if you need a plot? There’s drugs being dealt on the beach and to solve the crime, it will, at some point, require Zac Efron to wear women’s clothes.
There’s lots of ‘wisecracks’ which are more dumb than anything, dodgy CGI when Johnson swims under a fire, where it looks like the graphics have been made intentionally dodgy on purpose… and no-one would actually go into a burning boat anyway. This comes after he tells Zac they shouldn’t put anyone else in danger, yet he seems to be perfectly okay with it if they do it themselves.
And why are they getting involved in catching drug dealers by night when they’re spent all day lifeguarding? Who’s paying their overtime?
I found some minor chuckles, with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II‘s Sgt. Ellerbee getting some of the best lines, so it’s not a complete waste of time, but while on the one hand, this feels like a cheap and lazy comedy with the Baywatch tag added on, on the other, that’s what the original show descended into anyway. It also tries to spoof itself along the way, but those were a little too self-referential for me. I’m amazed it took SIX people to write this!
In addition, Baywatch is crazy-sexist in that all the men bare their chests but never the women. Why? In addition, there’s sexual objectification of men when one female lifeguard slaps the arse of a man’s. This is what the world’s come to.
Oh, and there’s also a David Hasselhoff cameo which makes zero sense in terms of reality. Ms Anderson also pops up in a cameo which I’ll leave you to discover.
As for what extra is in the ‘Extended Cut’, I don’t know. That’s the only version I saw, but since these films always end up extended on Blu-ray compared to what was in the cinema, that just stops me going to see them in the cinema.
If you want more and are asking if there’ll be a sequel, well, based on a $69m budget, the film has taken $177m to date, so it hasn’t set the box office on fire, but if they cut the spending money on the next one, then it’s naturally decreased box-office will be enough to make it worth its while.
One last thing about the TV series – am I the only one who preferred the original theme tune – for season 1 only – Peter Cetera’s Save Me, compared to I’m Always Here, sung by Survivor’s Jimi Jamison, which was used from season 2. Why the change? It was cancelled after one season on NBC, then returned just over a year later in syndicated form, meaning it could be shown on multiple stations in the US.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 ratio and in 1080p high definition and is pin-sharp throughout and looking absolutely stunning, as you’d expect from a modern movie, bringing the stunning beach locations to the screen, as well as the beach locations and all the other beach locations (yeah, it’s a beach movie).
The sound is presented in Dolby Atmos for this who have such technical ability, but I watched it in DTS 5.1 and it’s mostly music like a number of pop videos strung together. Nothing extraordinary, but pleasing to listen to.
The extras are as follows:
- Meet The Lifeguards (21:36): A standard behind-the-scenes mixing on-set footage with soundbites from the cast and crew. Like the film, there’s nothing to surprise you with this.
- Continuing The Legacy (9:27): They wanted to “give the show some love” and not ridicule it. They could’ve fooled me.
- Stunts and Training (9:09): Everyone clearly put the effort into the latter, except Ronnie, but that’s the point of his character. Stunts including riding around on jet-skis and all-terrain vehicles, plus a lot of fisticuffs.
- Deleted and extended scenes (10:06): Six scenes. One of them shows Zac using a mobile phone, but as he doesn’t have a home of his own, where does he charge it?
- Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
The menu features clips from the film set to a cover of I’m Always There, there are 16 chapters which is better than most studios – although if it had my preferred ‘one every five minutes’ then there’d be 50% more, plus languages and subtitles in a number of languages which are mentioned in the specs further on.
(click on the image for the full-size version)
Running time: 122 minutes (extended cut) / 116 minutes (theatrical version)
Studio: Paramount Home Video
Released: September 25th 2017
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Atmos (English only), Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: Dolby Atmos (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian), English Audio Description
Subtitles: English, Dutch, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish, Swiss, Ukranian
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Dolby Vision, Anamorphic Panavision)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Seth Gordon
Producers: Michael Berk, Gregory J Bonann, Beau Flynn, Ivan Reitman and Douglas Schwartz
Screenplay: Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (based on a story by Jay Scherick, David Ronn, Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, and based on the TV show created by Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz and Gregory J Bonann)
Music: Christopher Lennertz
Mitch Buchannon: Dwayne Johnson
Matt Brody: Zac Efron
Victoria Leeds: Priyanka Chopra
Summer Quinn: Alexandra Daddario
CJ Parker: Kelly Rohrbach
Stephanie Holden: Ilfenesh Hadera
Ronnie Greenbaum: Jon Bass
Sgt. Ellerbee: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Dave the Tech: Hannibal Buress
Captain Thorpe: Rob Huebel
Frankie: Amin Joseph
Leon: Jack Kesy
Councilman Rodriguez: Oscar Nuñez
The Mentor: David Hasselhoff
Casey Jean Parker: Pamela Anderson
Murray Chen: Clem Cheung
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.