Newest Review: ... won't give anything away. Sean Connery plays the Russian commander of a brand new cutting edge technology nuclear submarine. He is a bril... more
The Hunt for Red October-Stop looking you have found it
The Hunt For Red October (DVD)
Member Name: jonnyfun06
The Hunt For Red October (DVD)
Advantages: Tense and cagy-like being in a submarine
Disadvantages: Its an old film and the picture quality suffers
It's when you travel back through time, to a point where the world was polarized and on the brink of atomic warfare that you get an engrossing tale of two equally matched sides and nuclear brinkmanship. Sometimes I really do miss the cold war and the Soviet Union. You also got a movie with a strong cast and excellent performances. I am of course talking about The Hunt For Red October.
Jack Ryan is a CIA analyst who, whilst in London is examining some photographs obtained by British intelligence. They show a new Russian submarine under construction with some unusual design properties. Ryan's concern prompts him to take a flight to the States where he consults with an engineer.
He learns that the new design could mean a working caterpillar drive, a magneto-hydrodynamic propulsion system with no moving parts and to all intents and purposes, silent. When he realises that this would mean the Russians would be able to park nuclear warheads of the US coast with absolutely no warning, he moves to inform his superiors.
However, events are moving far faster than he can anticipate. The Red October has already set sail, and unbeknownst to the Americans the Captain, a Lithuanian named Marko Ramius has declared his intention to the Kremlin to defect. The Soviet Navy scrambles its fleet in an attempt to destroy the Red October but when it becomes apparent that they will not catch Red October in time, Russian diplomats inform the Americans that Ramius is a renegade intent on attacking the United States and request their assistance in destroying the submarine.
Meanwhile Ryan has intuited Ramius' true intentions and seeing the opportunity to maintain the balance of power by stealing the Russian sub, argues with his superiors for the chance to aid Ramius in his defection. The military representatives are sceptical, but a politician, Jeffrey Pelt is willing to take the chance. Of course it's up to Ryan to go out into the Atlantic and make contact with Ramius. It's a race against time to obtain the secrets of the Red October.
The Hunt for Red October is presented in an anamorphic 2.35:1 ratio. The image is less than stellar, with grain constant throughout. Since it didn't vary it was easy to put it to the back of my mind and enjoy the film. The image was a little soft and the colours were muted. Blacks weren't adequately represented, fading to grey at points. The nighttime landing sequence on the carrier was severely plagued by this. Flecks of dirt and dust marred the beginning of the film, but this quickly faded away to imperceptibility. This litany of problems sound fatal, but they really are marginal faults.
Made in 1989, it was cutting edge in special effects. The underwater sequences seem false. Visibility is constant no matter the depth, and the sea consists of very blue water and rocks. The sub battle sequences are very well choreographed though and thrilling to watch. John McTiernan directs well and the film is well paced from beginning to end with the tension palpable throughout.
The moment I heard the song of a humpback whale echoing around my speakers, I realised the sound was a particular treat on this disc. The sound is very well implemented on the 5.1 English track. The powerful bass rumble of the submarines is tangible, and the explosions are powerfully represented.
Basil Poledouris' music is well written and you feel the communism oozing out of your speakers. I love the way the change from Russian to English is accomplished. The less said about Sean Connery's Russian accent the better.
The features on this disc consist of a theatrical trailer and subtitles in a whole slew of languages
Submarine movies are cool. Cold War thrillers are cool too. The Hunt For Red October is the best of both worlds. The Hunt For Red October shows them all how it's done.
The cast is brilliant. It hardly bears mentioning Sean Connery's performance. If you forgive the pun, he is commanding as the Russian Captain Marko Ramius. He gives a measured and authoritative performance, which is the reason this movie works. Jack Ryan is strictly a secondary character in this story, but Alec Baldwin gives a singular performance as the CIA analyst. His Ryan is a more complex character. Unsure of himself, he finds himself thrown into the deep end hunting for the Russian submarine. He is nervous about flying and not exactly in control of events. His reaction is priceless when he finally meets the Russian commander he idolises, and Ramius belittles his achievements.
Solid performances by Scott Glen as Bart Mancuso, Sam Neill as Borodin, Joss Ackland as Ambassador Lysenko all add to the stellar cast. I particularly like Richard Jordan's delicious performance as the politician Jeffrey Pelt. The only blemish is Tim Curry's role as Dr. Petrov, which is weak compared to the rest of the cast.
This is an excellent film, thrilling from beginning to end. The claustrophobic tension of submarine combat is recreated well here. Great performances, a genuinely exciting story and some memorable battle scenes all make for an unmissable film.
Summary: I love this film, and I think you will too.