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Film review: Baywatch

Film & TV

It’s been swamped by harsh reviews, but if you’re prepared to ride the wave you might just find yourself swept up in the sun-soaked fun of Baywatch the movie.

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Directed by Seth Gordon (Identity Thief, Horrible Bosses), the film is full of witty one-liners, over-the-top action scenes, and references to the original Baywatch television series and cast members’ previous movies (such as Zac Efron’s High School Musical).

The new lifeguard team members – led by all-round good guy Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) – depart from their actual responsibilities and, instead, work to uncover a violent drug plot that threatens the bay.

Reluctant recruit Matt Brody (Efron) is the voice of reason and the only one who wants to leave the investigating and jetski chases to the police.

Like the TV series (which aired from 1989), Baywatch draws viewers in with the surf, suntans and hot bodies. But there is some reversal of the gender stereotypes that dominated the original show starring David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson (both of whom have cameo roles in the movie).

This time, the lifeguard team has a 50/50 split. The women – played by Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach and Ilfenesh Hadera – fight the criminals, save drowning children and have strong personalities, while Efron’s character is the “damsel in distress”.

Priyanka Chopra is also fantastic as the aspiring Bond villain, Victoria Leeds.

Baywatch the movie doesn’t take itself seriously – and nor should you. It has good comic timing, plenty of fight scenes and a ton of sexual tension. It had me laughing for 116 minutes.

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