Baywatch – Summer Fun in the Sun
– And Priyanka Chopra too!It is a saga of beach action, well-sculpted bodies and beautiful babes. If you are a follower of the original Baywatch TV series you’ll know this movie won’t change your life or solve life’s pressing problems but will certainly while away a summer afternoon! It’s popcorn-induced voyeurism at its best as you oogle the great bodies, gorgeous looks and fabulous tans.
Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) is the legendary lifeguard of Emerald Bay who heads the Baywatch team and keeps everyone safe. He’s the rock and the moral compass of the movie and when he’s around you know nothing can go wrong. The movie doesn’t have much of a plot – it’s a simple good vs. evil tale with lots of distractions by way of beautiful people, eye candy and a risque sense of humor. The Baywatch team now has some new recruits (Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario and Jon Bass) and as they get their bearings, they are faced with a mystery brewing on the beach: dead bodies being washed up on the shore, drugs floating around and a yacht getting blown up.
Enter arch villainess Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) owner of the upscale Huntley Club with ambitions of owning the entire bay and crushing all opposition. It is up to the Baywatch team – often derided as mere lifeguards – to get back into action solving another dangerous life and death situation to safeguard the bay. Of course, this being ‘Baywatch’ it has silly laugh out loud situations, with some zany antics even in a morgue. Nothing is sacred!
Dwayne Johnson has the charisma and the likeability factor to carry the film as Mitch Buchannon. The Baywatch team delivers – the gorgeous Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario and the very funny Jon Bass. Stephanie Holden and CJ Summers (Ilfenesh Hedera and Kelly Rohrbach) stunning in their red swimsuits are super-efficient and extremely easy on the eye. There is also a nod to the original Baywatch series with cameo appearances by David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson.
The piece de resistance of the movie for me was the inspired casting of Priyanka Chopra as Victoria Leeds, mastermind evil goddess. Sexy and gorgeous, always in slinky low-cut gowns and heels, she gamely plays her character big and over the top like a cartoon Cruella. When she kicks an enemy into oblivion with her stiletto heel, you know she’s relishing every bit of her evil avatar, and her dramatic exit in a blaze of fireworks is delicious cinema.The producers had earlier intended to have a male villain but decided to add more punch by making it a female character. Says Priyanka Chopra: “As an actor to be able to play evil is always interesting. You’re able to do all the things you can’t do in real life!”
Chopra has always been a risk-taker and American audiences who know her from ‘Quantico’ will hardly believe the varied roles she has played in India. From her tragic role as the royal Keshabai clad in a nine-yard sari in ‘Baji Rao Mastani’ to the crafty, comic villainess Victoria Leeds in ‘Baywatch’, Chopra proves she can do it all. With the release of ‘Baywatch’, she has been doing the rounds of the talk shows. Last night on the James Corden show, asked if she’d play a Bond girl, she retorted she would like to play James Bond! Yes, it’s all about breaking boundaries.
All in all, ‘Baywatch’ may not be the movie of the year but it’s good, dirty fun (with an R rating) and keeps you engaged with action, cheesecake and a razor-thin plot – and you don’t have to think or worry even once about Trump and the state of the world.