The classic 90s TV swimsuit drama gets a comedy reboot from Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson
Alongside Noel Gallagher’s Union Jack guitar and a high-kicking Sporty Spice, one of the most iconic images of the 90s is Pamela Anderson running along a beach in the kind of swimsuit that, at the time, most people were flossing with. No Saturday night was complete without a dose of shameless lifeguard porn as Pammy, David Hasselhoff and the rest of the ripped’n’rippling Baywatch team jogged in slo-mo down the beaches of LA, very occasionally stopping to, y’know, actually rescue someone.
Despite Baywatch being the most successful TV series of all time, it’s a joy most Millennials have never known – the closest you can picture is perhaps a devoutly religious Miley Cyrus. But now Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Zac Efron and the director behind Horrible Bosses (Seth Gordon) have rebooted this much-loved soft-focus classic as an action comedy movie, complete with superfluous swimwear tracking shots aplenty. Here’s what we know so far.
What’s the Baywatch release date?
Baywatch hits US cinemas on May 25 and UK screens on May 29, so best get slo-mo running towards the Cineplex now if you want to make it in time.
Who’s in the new Baywatch team?
Dwayne Johnson heads up the new cast in David Hasselhoff’s old role as Mitch Buchannon, the Baywatch team’s heroically buff gung-ho leader. He clashes with Zac Efron’s prissy pretty boy Matt Brody, a washed-up Olympic athlete who is brought in to improve the PR appeal of the financially-threatened project. Relative unknown Kelly Rohrbach pulls on Pammy’s ever-tested swimsuit as CJ Parker, Alexandra Daddario plays new recruit Summer Quinn who catches Efron’s eye, and Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra takes the villain’s role as Victoria Leeds, a club owner suspected of running drugs. Do Anderson and Hasselhoff make cameo appearances? Of course - did we learn nothing from Starsky & Hutch?
Baywatch plot: smuggling skulduggery
When Efron’s lazy, party-loving and risk-averse pro athlete is drafted in as the face of a campaign to save the Baywatch team, under threat from funding cuts (isn’t everything?), his attitude rubs up meat mountain Dwayne Johnson the wrong way – “My gut says there’s some bad shit going on over there, and my balls say we need to check it out,” Johnson tells him on a stake-out; “my balls say ‘let’s just take it easy right here,” Efron replies, making his danglers sound like nervous Smurfs. "My character can't stand this prick, and he hates me too," Johnson said on Instagram. But when a dead body is pulled out of the ocean on their watch, the team take it upon themselves to take down the drug trafficking operation bringing murder to Santa Monica beach. Cue much hilarity as they step on the toes of the actual authorities – “there’s no such thing as ‘lifeguard pursuit!’ yells exasperated actual-cop Captain Thorpe (Rob Huebel).
Do the trailers promise great things?
For fans of hard-hitting political arthouse cinema, probably not. For fans of gyrating bikinis, glistening pectorals, water ski gunplay and The Rock diving into flaming seas to rescue women then turning down their offers of insta-sex, you’re in for a treat.
Baywatch: full-plot spoiler
If you have any intention of actually watching Baywatch turn back now because, for those who just want to know how dumb it is, here come literally all of the spoilers. As Mitch and the team – his second-in-command Stephanie Holden, CJ and new recruits Summer Quinn, Brody and chubby CJ-fancier Ronnie – investigate the dead body by infiltrating the city morgue, they record two of local club owner Victoria Leeds’ men planting a false autopsy report to cover up the fact that the man – a councilman – was murdered at her command.
Mitch manages to capture one of the men, but the recording is destroyed so there’s no evidence to detain him. Undeterred, the team then set about proving that Leeds is smuggling drugs through her club by infiltrating the kitchen and watching staff unloading narcotics from barrels, but while they’re there another body is found washed up at the beach and Mitch is fired for abandoning his post. Brody takes over command while Mitch is reduced to selling phones to get by, but when he discovers that the second body has also been murdered he gets Ronnie to hack Leeds’ database, discovering that she intends to eliminate all of her rival business owners and privatise the whole beach. Sneaking into a private party on Leeds’ yacht, they discover she’s been smuggling drugs in the hull. Brody is captured and pushed into the sea in bait cage to drown… but here comes Mitch, saving his life and blowing up Leeds with a firework. Brody hooks up with Summer, Ronnie cops off with CJ, everyone’s happy, Pamela Anderson cameo, the end.