The Hunt for Red October is a very interesting movie. Based on Tom Clancy's novel of the same name. It was directed by John McTiernan and about a Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) that command Red October (октябрь) a new vessel that features a device call the caterpillar drive. The caterpillar drive rendering it undetectable to sonar. Ramius leaves port on orders to conduct exercises with the captain of submarine V.K. Konovalov, former student Captain Tupolev (Stellan Skarsgård). Instead of doing that, Ramius commands the crew to head toward America's east coast to conduct missile drills. The United States government officials think the Red October pose a threat, and sent the captain of the USS Dallas, Commander Bart Mancuso (Scott Glenn), to meet the enemy. CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alex Baldwin) thinks other side, thinking that Ramius instead plans to defect with the new weapon. It becomes a race of time to stop all-out war as the clock ticks down in this Cold War drama. The movie unlike all other Tom Clancy's novels turn movies is pretty tame, as action goes along. It's more made out to be a smart strategy action movie than a mindless shoot it up film. The action is limited due to it being a submarine movie, but the film use slow tense motions like what Ramius is going to do, and what the other submariners are thinking of his action to build up suspense. Nobody knows for sure, what is going to happen. The torpedoes scenes were pretty mind blowing. The film is a bit dated, and some of the talking can be a bit boring, but the dialogue works for the film. Still, I can see every actor playing their parts even if the Russian accents is a bit mediocre. It's weird to see a Scotsman (Connery), Australian (Sam Neill), and English (Tim Curry) playing Soviets. It is better that they didn't use the Russian accent when speaking English too much. Couldn't they find any good Eastern actors for these roles, still! They did their part, but it's hard to think of these actors as Russians. The way, the actors go out of Russian to English, to Russian to English is a bit confusing. The film starts out in Russian, then switches to English in an early scene as the political officer reads the passage from the Bible. The switch occurs on the word "Armageddon", which is the same in both languages. I like the symbolism of that. Sean Connery and Scott Glenn are both commanding in their roles, as both had some submarining training before this film. I wouldn't change that. In my opinion, I would rather have the Harrison Ford's Jack Ryan than Alec Baldwin's. His Jack Ryan seems too wimpy for me and found him weak. Jack Ryan would go on to be the central characters of many of Clancy's later novels. One thing about the movie that I like is, how the screenwriters (Larry Ferguson & Donald Stewart) did an excellent job making a complex plot simple to follow. Tom Clancy is a great author, but one thing about his novels is how compound it can be. Being the first novel by Clancy adapted to the screen, it also serves as the best Tom Clancy's adaptation. The different between the book and the movie are somewhat wide. The biggest different is that in the book there was also a separate story involving a US spy in the Kremlin which doesn't occur in the film. The film also act more action to the film like the October has to avoid a torpedo and Ryan getting on aboard the USS Dallas that wasn't in the book. Those things work somewhat to me. It made the film interesting during the slow parts. The movie did lost it tensed Cold War feel, when the movie came out. By February 1990, just before the film's theatrical release, the Soviet government announced that the Communist Party was no longer completely in charge, effectively ending the Cold War. To compensate for the change in Russia's political climate, an on-screen crawl appears at the beginning of the film stating that it takes place in 1984 during the Cold War than 1990. The music written by Basil Poledouris was great has a Cold War theme, and bear similarity to Russian Army band songs. So it was a bit epic and scary at the same time. The movie could have better if only if the film had a larger budget. The underwater scenes model of the submarine look too much like models for me. I know they could had done better, because 4 years later, Crimson Tide (1994) came out with better effects. They could had use better use of the technology at the time to make the submarines look real than spending 20,000 dollars on Sean Connery's hairpiece. The movie did get some heat, as it did reveal some classified submarine technology at the time with the use of gravimetry as a method of silent navigation in US submarines. There are a lot of factual errors, and anachronisms to nitpick, but it doesn't bother me from the film too much. Overall: the film was pretty good. Still, the main crime committed against this film was the horrendous film-to-DVD transfer it got. Frankly, this film suffer from sheer graininess that hasn't been solve in its newest released. if you like submarine movies you will like this, as this movie has some depth to it.
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