What seems like ages ago I found myself plopped down on the couch of my neighbor's house as I was taking care of her cats while she was away for a work trip. I was in my early teens and bored out of my mind, but she had a large projection TV so I figured that I'd just hang out there for the day. I started flipping through the channels unsure what was on that early in the morning. Then it happened; I stumbled upon what would be my prepubescent addiction: Baywatch.
I was a teenage boy and the show was literally about bikini-clad women and a couple of guys slow motion running across the beaches of California, soaking up the sun and saving the beach from the likes of serial killers, shark attacks, drowning victims and even the occasional earthquake. How could I not stop watching!
From that point forward, I had fat crushes on the leading ladies: Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra, Erika Eleniak, Brooke Burns, Donna D'Errico, Marliece Andrada, Kelly Packard, Nicole Eggert & Yasmine Bleeth. (I had a lot of crushes, the show ran for a long time, 10 years from 1989-1999).
Aside from the lead women, the show itself was completely forgettable, at least to me. I only remember a couple things from the few years that I watched sporadically, so it came as a bit of a surprise when I heard the news that the Rock had been cast in the upcoming feature film version of Baywatch.
I couldn't believe it, but then I started thinking about it and came up with the 3 key factors that can turn Baywatch into a legitimate hit in the theaters.
Let the Rock break the laughter barrier
Let's face it, the Rock is a bonafide action superstar. There's very little worry about the masses coming to see his movies. I know I go to his movies because I absolutely love his badass persona in so many of his characters. All the way back to his days as the Scorpion King I've watched as he has exploded onto the big screen with action hit after action hit.
For Baywatch to succeed, they need to let the Rock let loose. He can be incredibly funny when given the chance, and that is the first key to a Baywatch blockbuster.
Look at his roles in The Rundown, Be Cool, The Game Plan, The Other Guys & Pain and Gain; All of these characters have a good sense of humor. He's more than just a muscle-bound powerhouse. He's got charisma and some really solid quips throughout many of his roles.
Don't try too hard to make it into an epic
Sometimes it seems that movies try way to hard to turn something into a grandiose, epic film, when really it's meant to be something silly. It's simple enough to turn any movie featuring the Rock in into a blockbuster, action epic. Baywatch IS NOT EPIC by any stretch of the imagination. Following in the steps of other popular television shows turned movie is the best bet for this film such as 21 Jump Street, The A-Team, The Addams Family, Dark Shadows & Get Smart is one smart way to help the Baywatch movie succeed. All of these films had their own success, and none focused on turning their story into an epic film. Those movies understood the source material and they ran with it. Baywatch needs to follow the same process of never taking itself too seriously.
We all know that the Rock is a great fighter, and there's really nobody who can take him down when it comes to battle scenes. The key to this movie is going to be to focus less on constant action scenes and allow the other aspects of the film to shine.
Chase scenes, falling down, explosions, etc. etc. - All these pieces are going to be key to the success of a Baywatch film. Baywatch was never about fist fights, and I don't think that a feature film can be about that either.