Published on December 14th, 2007 | by Chris0
The Hunt For Red October (1990)
Ah, submarine movies. (Deep Breath). If you've followed the site for any length of time you probably know I've developed a soft-spot for the sub-genre (no pun intended!) and 1990's adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel The Hunt For Red Octoberis no exception.
In case you *haven't* actually seen "Red October", or read it, the plot goes something like this: A Soviet sub commander, Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) takes a brand-new, experimental submarine on a mission to defect to the US with some of his officers. As you can imagine this doesn't sit well with the rest of the Soviet Navy, and causes a fair amount of confusion on the US side of things.
That's where the venerable character of CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) comes in. The resident expert on Ramius, he's dispatched to the submarine USS Dallas to actually meet with Ramius, prove his intention to defect, and bring him and the submarine home safely. Natch, right?
Not exactly. Nothing's ever that simple, is it. Without spoiling any of details (which make the film interesting) the Soviets send one of Ramius' former prodigies after him, and to boot they've got a KGB operative on board. Which of course complicates things severely.
One thing I find interesting about submarine movies is the way that technology is portrayed and used over the years. Red October doesn't disappoint, blending the best of old-world sonar technology with such crazy concepts as magnetic propulsion and of course the entire nuclear hot potato.
And what's a good submarine movie without your cold-war Soviet paranoia? Back in Washington the ambassadors of both governments duke it out in a humorous series of exchanges that probably have more truth to them than fiction.
If I have any complaints about Red October it'd be these: The subs just don't feel as cramped and claustrophobic as they could, as in Crimson Tide; nor does it carry the same tension as other gems like The Enemy Below. And the F/X, while still good leaves quite a bit to the imagination, as in you're mainly looking at a big black blob in a foggy dark blue expanse. But, eh, not the point. The point is the intrigue and twists that go on at a more political level.
Baldwin and Connery are as always brilliant. Although I can't decide who makes a better Ryan, Baldwin or Harrison Ford. Both have their quirks and fit into the role nicely. (Yeah, lets forget about that other guy!) Also making an appearance as a carrier commander is Fred Thompson, yeah that Fred Thompson. Of course James Earl Jones is present as Admiral Greer, and Sam Neill and Tim Curry make appearances as officers on Ramius' crew.
I won't go out on a limb and lavish The Hunt For Red October with a heaping amount of praise, as Cold War epics go, it is just on the high-side of average, despite my above statements. But its somewhere on the border between average and great.
The Hunt For Red October is also available for viewing online through Amazon's Unbox! Bonus!
The Hunt for Red October
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Based on Tom Clancy's bestseller, directed by John McTiernan (Die Hard) and starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER sweats with high-tech anxiety and the tension of men who hold Doomsday in their hands...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Brand: Paramount Home Video
Original Release Date:
- Sean Connery
- Alec Baldwin
- Scott Glenn
- Sam Neill
- James Earl Jones
- Condition: New
- Format: DVD
- Anamorphic; Closed-captioned; Color; Dolby; DVD; Subtitled; Widescreen; NTSC
Summary: somewhere on the border between average and great.