YMMV / The Rock

  • Awesome Music: Hans Zimmer's "A Grave Injustice", "Hummel Gets The Rockets", and "Shower Room Massacre".
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • If you play the film from Hummel's perspective then it's the story of a classic Tragic Hero.
    • Did Hummel say My God, What Have I Done? because he trusted Frye and Darrow or because he broke his moral code by killing Crisp?
  • Bittersweet Ending: It's good that the hostages were rescued, but still sad that the Marines who died in covert ops will never have money sent to their families. It was arguably quite a good cause despite the evil methods used to support it.
  • Complete Monster: Captains Frye and Darrow attempt to extort money by threatening San Francisco with Deadly Gas. While their superior Anti-Villain General Hummel wants to distribute the money to families of soldiers whose deaths went unrecognized and without compensation, they only want it for themselves. When it becomes apparent Hummel is bluffing, they act swift to remove Hummel from command and eventually kill him while proceeding with the attack. Even when it becomes apparent they've lost, Frye and Darrow try to send a rocket at the city armed with poison gas to kill every civilian they possibly can and attempt to kill the 81 tourists they have locked in Alcatraz to ensure a lack of witnesses. Their whole motivation for this is as Darrow sums up himself: "I want my FUCKING! MONEY!"
  • Fanon:
    • There's a fairly popular theory that "John Mason" is simply the latest codename of a British agent whose real name is... Bond. James Bond.
    • Alternately, "James Bond" is a codename, and Mason was just one of the more notable people to adopt the mantle.
  • Fridge Brilliance: "The Rock" refers to the main characters.
    • Hummel seems to have iron will but falters at the fateful moment.
    • Mason is hard physically but has no honor or code. He is an opportunist at best.
    • Goodspeed isn't physically strong but his will is the hardest compared to the other two.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Mason hands over the microfilm with the truth behind Who Shot JFK? and other secrets to Goodspeed. Nicolas Cage would later get his hands on the original copy in National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
    • Likewise, this wasn't the last time Nicolas Cage would face a Well-Intentioned Extremist version of Ed Harris, who is the villain in National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
    • Hummel is German for "bumble bee". Gee, that sounds familiar...
    • Todd Louiso's first line is to mock Goodspeed for spending a fortune on an LP when he could've spent $16 on the same album on CD. Dick would no doubt be disgusted by such a sentiment.
    • In laying the groundwork for the Iraqi war, the American and British governments relied on an alleged Iraqi chemical weapons scientist who testified Saddam Hussein was manufacturing chemical weapons. And then storing them in ludicrously inefficient strings of glass beads. Despite numerous intelligence officials stating this 'expert witness's only experience with chemical weapons was watching The Rock, his testimony was still used as a basis for the war. It's like the incompetent US government from the film came true....
    • Mason jokes about "losing his sex appeal" while in prison; Sean Connery would be named the Sexiest Man of the Century by People at the age of sixty-nine a mere three years later.
    • During the first video chat with General Hummel, Womack (John Spencer) sits beside the White House Chief of Staff. Spencer would later play the Chief of Staff in The West Wing. As an added bonus Aaron Sorkin, the creator of The West Wing was an uncredited script doctor of this movie.
  • Jerkass Woobie: General Hummel. His backstory wasn't particularly happy. One can even argue he's not even that big of a jerkass.
  • Moral Event Horizon: When Frye and Darrow provoke a gunfight with the Navy SEALs in the shower room and wipe them all out in the process.
    • And in case you thought they did it by accident (although they enjoyed it), there is the scene later on when they decide to carry on with the missile attack after Hummel decides to call it off (revealing that he was bluffing all along). As put by Darrow, they are mercenaries now, so if they want to get paid, they need to make sure the government sees that they weren't weak.
  • MST3K Mantra: It's best not to complain about VX being corrosive when it's not in real life; it's pretty much there for the sake of drama, as well as scariness - jerking around a bit and dropping to the floor isn't as horrifying as your skin bubbling and blackening.
  • Narm:
    • Darrow: "I want! My! Fucking! Money!"
    • Goodspeed: "IT! WAS! CLASSIFIED!" As well as "What do you say we cut the chit-chat, A-HOLE?!"
    • The deadly poison is bright green and kept in glass balls the size of ping-pong balls. There's a reason for that related to their dispersal, but it's hard to take something so goddamn pretty that seriously.
  • Nightmare Fuel: One of Hummel's men falling victim to the VX gas during the raid. Seeing his genuine panic as his body begins to boil is pretty unnerving, as is the fact that his fellow marines can do nothing for him.
  • One-Scene Wonder - Gen. Pederson.
    "Seventy. Seventy thousand dead. A drop of VX hits the floor is lethal up to a hundred feet. One teaspoon of this shit detonated on the atmosphere will kill every living thing within an 8 block radius. Get the point?"
  • Retroactive Recognition: Jim Caviezel as "Rear F-18 Pilot".
    • Dr. Cox as Captain Hendrix.
    • Tuco Salamanca was once a Marine sergeant who was skilled with motion sensors. He still knows when something isn't right.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Hummel is incredibly easy to root for. He only uses violent force when he absolutely has to, takes no joy in the methods he's been forced to use, is fighting for an unequivocally righteous cause (getting financial aid for the surviving families of subordinates who died under his command while on black ops missions the government has disavowed) and ultimately reveals he was never planning to launch the rockets anyway and even aids the heroes in disabling them in his dying moments.
  • Rule of Sean Connery: It's widely considered Bay's best movie, and his only "Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes. Considering it stars the guy who names the trope...
  • Spiritual Licensee:
    • Play Call of Duty: Black Ops and substitute "Hummel" every time someone talks to "Hudson." The character (voiced by Ed Harris), is so close to Vietnam-era Hummel that it might as well be a prequel. It even includes a plot to attack the United States with horrible, face-melting green gas and a character named Mason learning the truth about the JFK Assassination. It's worth noting that Black Ops was released right after Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which included several blatant homages to this movie. note 
    • And of course, it can also be seen as an unofficial James Bond installment, since (as mentioned on the main page) Mason is pretty consciously written as an Expy of Bond, right down to his actor. If you believe the popular theory that "James Bond" is a codename passed down by MI6 agents, it's easy to believe that Mason actually is Bond.
  • Squick: After Mason drops an entire AC unit on his head, one of the soldier's feet is still twitching as they disarm the first rocket. Goodspeed is greatly unnerved by this.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: What most fans feel about Nic Cage's character surviving rather than Hummel.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheRock