Published on January 15th, 2013 | by Chris1
Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis (1991)
Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis is exactly what you would expect. It is the chronicle of the legendary final mission of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, which was sunk by a Japanese submarine, and its surviving crew left to fend for themselves in shark infested water for five days.
The movie starts off with the earlier, and somewhat lesser known part of her mission. That is, the delivery of parts and the all important uranium core for "Little Boy," the bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima. (and featuring military adviser Dale Dye!) Once this small portion of the film is completed, the film follows exactly what you would expect. Captain McVay (Stacy Keach) takes the ship back out to sea, and then all hell breaks loose.
Things follow a predictable path, from the attack, the sinking, the ensuing 5 days on the open waters being randomly attacked by sharks. The madness, the fear, death, dying.... Again, with the limitations that TV presented, I'd have to say they did what they could.
Instead of merely ending the movie when the remaining crew have been rescued, they go one step further. Another little known fact is that Captain McVay was court martialed for this incident. It would seem the Navy needed someone to blame. Even going so far as bringing Commander Hashimoto (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) the captain of the Japanese sub who sunk her, to testify. I, for one, am glad they chose to include this, as it did nothing but serve to further put you on the side of these guys. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately? I don't know) it doesn't go far enough, and does not include the fact that McVay committed suicide some years later, presumably over the incident.
For a TV-based docu-drama, I'm going to have to give Mission of the Shark a fair 7/10.
Honestly, for a made-for-TV movie (I'm assuming this was the case, judging from the 4:3 format) it was a decent way to blow an hour and a half, and an excellent and deserved homage to the crew of the Indianapolis, all of them.
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Summary: A decent docu-drama about the USS Indianapolis' and a great homage to her crew.