Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) is the head of the elite lifeguards of Baywatch. With over 500 confirmed saves he is a local legend. He and his team keep the beach safe by saving drowning victims and going after the people who threaten the safety of the bay they patrol. His team consists of; Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera) the one person who might know the bay as well as Mitch and his second in command, C.J. Parker (Kelly Rohrbach) another veteran lifeguard, recruits Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass) and Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) both out to prove themselves, and the final member is cocky recruit Matt Brody (Zac Efron). When drugs start to wash up on the shores of the bay Mitch and company decide to investigate local business woman Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra). They notice that some odd things seem to be happening around a high end resort she owns. The drugs are wash up right in front of the resort and an unknown fish company begins delivering mysterious blue barrels to the resort. But when a local councilman dies under suspicious circumstances, while wearing the same expensive watch worn by Victoria’s body guards, they decide they must infiltrate Victoria’s club, yacht . They have to come together and get to the bottom of where the drugs are coming from and who is responsible to save they bay they are sworn to protect.

If there was a film that took to the phase “don’t take yourself too seriously” Baywatch would be that film. This Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief) directed film embraces the cheesiness of the original Baywatch television series in a big way. The cast pokes fun at every aspect of the television series as well as the personas of the real life actors, specifically Johnson and Efron. Johnson’s character is constantly poking fun at Efron’s character by calling him boy band names, in reference to Efron’s status as a teen heartthrob. Another way the movie makes fun of itself is by calling out the fact the Baywatch team not only have the duties of lifeguards on the beach but also doing criminal investigates, going under cover and chasing criminals. There is an ongoing gag throughout the movie where a local police officer, Sgt. Ellerbee (yahya Abdul-Mateen II), reminds Mitch that he is not a police officer, which does not stop him from survelling suspects and looking at coroner reports. Another aspect that I think was done well was that it does not try to reimagine the universe of Baywatch. Rather it takes all the corny one liners and over the top plots and adds some raunchiness to make it new and fresh.

It maybe went a little too far on the cheesy lines and over-acting at times but I think that was the intent of the film. Many of times I found myself shaking my head at how absurd the story was but in the end it was all done in a fun way and again not taking itself too seriously. The action scenes are good not great. The acting fits the style of the movie, it’s bad but presumably on purpose. The CGI in the movie is hit and miss, most notable the underwater scenes are not the best. The movie is also way raunchier that I expected. Some scenes definitely caught me off guard at how far they went. I wouldn’t go into it expecting any amazing acting or plausible plot lines, because you are likely to be let down. This is not for anyone looking for a witty comedy or is not a fan of excessive foul language and some nudity. If you were a fan of the TV series you will probably enjoy the film, notably the cameos by Pamela Anderson (as Casey Jean Parker) and David Hasselhoff (as the mentor).

2.5 out of 5


Second review by Gareth Von Kallenbach


The iconic TV series Baywatch has made the leap to the big screen with an R-rated film that mixes action and comedy in much the same way that “21 Jump Street” and its subsequent sequel successfully achieved. The film follows lifeguard Mitch Buchanan (Dwayne Johnson), who leads a team dedicated to protecting those enjoying the beach to which they are assigned. Mitch has to fill some new spots on the team and prepares the annual competition to determine who will be the next applicants to join his squad. Cocky former Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron) arrives saying that his spot on the team is already assured thanks to a plea deal from some recent trouble he found himself involved with. Mitch takes an instant disliking to Matt’s attitude and insists that he must complete the certification course and requirements just like any other candidate. Eventually Matt joins fellow new recruits Summer (Alexandra Daddario), and Ronnie (Jon Bass), to train for their new position.

When a highly dangerous situation arises involving a local politician, Mitch and his team spring into action and find themselves with a mystery on their hands. Naturally his superiors and the local police department want nothing to do with the theories and actions of lifeguards and Mitch and the crew must overcome each other and various other dangers to save the day.

While much of the film is light weight fair that at times goes for the raunchy rather than clever; there are still plenty of laughs along the way. The film has a tongue-in-cheek approach as it parodies the series as well as action films. While it would be easy to dismiss the thin plot it was clear to me that the cast seemed to of been having a really good time making the film and working with one another. The plot doesn’t have a lot of surprises and at times seems like it has been cobbled together from numerous other action films, but works well if you are willing to suspend reality and just sit back and enjoy.

I certainly would not mind seeing another outing for this crew as the film was certainly better than I expected it would be and while “Baywatch”, may not earn points for originality but it’s certainly is light and enjoyable summer entertainment for those who are willing to overlook its shortcomings and enjoy a bit of updated nostalgic fun.

3 stars out of 5