It should come as no surprise that the biggest star among Hollywood A-listers is finding success on the Paramount+ streaming service as a Dwayne Johnson reboot is sitting at number six in popularity. For years and years, Baywatch titillated audiences around the world with stars such as David Hasselhoff and Parker Stevenson, while introducing the world to newcomers Pamela Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth, and Carmen Electra. Johnson took that prior popularity, which also included spin-offs and TV movies, and turned it into a fair-to-middling feature film.
Premiering in 2017, Dwayne Johnson’s Baywatch starred The Rock as Lieutenant Mitch Buchannon (the character created by The Hoff) and Zac Efron as egotistical Olympian Matt Brody. Set in Florida, Buchannon is a popular figure on the beachfront, with rescues numbering in the 500’s. He is backed up by his second-in-command Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera) and C.J. Parker (Kelly Rohrbach), the character made famous by Pamela Anderson.
One morning on patrol, Mitch finds a small bag of the flakka drug, which has washed up on shore near the pricey Huntley Club, which is now under the ownership of Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra).
Later, Dwayne Johnson’s Mitch meets Zac Efron’s Matt Brody, who feels that his status as an Olympian entitles him to be on the team without having to try out. Letting Matt know he is far from correct, Mitch makes Matt compete against him on the “big boys” course. As the two finish the course, they must save a drowning mother and her kids. Rescue complete, Mitch announces the team’s newcomers – Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass), Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario), and yes, Matt Brody.
Matt, much like Mitch, doesn’t work well with authority. In that respect, the two are very much alike but it’s a recipe for disaster. So, when a private yacht catches on fire, Matt disobeys direct orders by diving underneath the flames. This causes Matt to have to be saved, though most occupants of the burning yacht are saved.
One person who doesn’t make it is Councilman Rodriguez, who was secretly being bribed by Leeds in her efforts to gain more control of the bay. More drugs are found by Mitch and company as they begin to investigate Leeds’s possible connection. Although he was told not to follow up on it, Mitch does and finds himself relieved of his job, with Matt taking his place.
With Dwayne Johnson’s Mitch no longer a lifeguard, his work now revolves around sales for Sprint. But as the job is located on the beach, Matt is able to still keep an eye on things. Matt spies on a couple of grifters stealing a cooler on the beach and after chasing them down, he finds more flakka in the cooler.
Mitch now finds himself going back to his former crew, along with Matt, in order to figure out who is bringing in the drugs and how they are getting into the bay.
For years, a new Baywatch movie was in the works. The film, though, ended up in development hell afterit was announced in 2004. It wasn’t making real progress until Dwayne Johnson showed interest in reviving the series, jumping on board in 2014. Sean Anders was replaced by Seth Gordon as the film’s director and the script got a much-needed tune-up by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift.
Once Dwayne Johnson signed on, Gordon was given $65 million for the reboot, making a respectable $178 million at the box office, which goes to prove Johnson’s box office clout.
Now, you can’t have a Baywatch film and not have a couple of fun cameos. The Hoff and Pamela Anderson provided just that, but if you haven’t seen the film already, we won’t spoil the where’s and the how’s. Just keep your eyes peeled.
You can’t say that Dwayne Johnson’s star was on the rise when he took on Baywatch as he already had established his number one A-list status with films like The Game Plan, The Tooth Fairy, of course joining the Fast & Furious franchise helped, then came San Andreas, and Central Intelligence.
Dwayne Johnson didn’t miss a beat after Baywatch as he went on to bigger and better films like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle as well as its sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level. He also had Rampage (based on the popular video game) and Skyscraper. There was also the spin-off, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
Not only is Dwayne Johnson making waves on the big screen, but he is also doing it on the small. He starred in the popular Ballers for HBO and now Young Rock, a sitcom based on his life prior to being a megastar. Currently, Dwayne Johnson can be seen in the Disney smash hit Jungle Cruise, opposite Emily Blunt.
The ever-busy Johnson has a number of projects lined up that include the highly anticipated Black Adam. He also has Netflix’s Red Notice queued up for a November 12, 2021 premiere. On deck for The Rock is The King, where Johnson takes on the role of Hawaii’s King Kamehameha.
You can find The Rock saving lives and kicking butt in Baywatch, now on Paramount+.