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Overall Rating

Awesome: 32.79%
Worth A Look62.3%
Average: 1.64%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 3.28%

3 reviews, 43 user ratings

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Hunt For Red October, The
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by Slyder

"The best of the Tom Clancy adaptations"
4 stars

After releasing the masterful Die Hard, John McTiernan followed up with what was going to be the start of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series. I’ve had the pleasure of reading such series (until he actually bored me to death with Executive Orders), and it was evident that for the series to go on, this film had to be a hit. And it does; it’s no masterpiece but it’s still a very solid, well-crafted suspenseful film… and it would be the last great film that McTiernan would do in a long time.

Captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) has been given command of the newest Soviet naval vessel, the Typhoon Class submarine “Red October.” Armed with a new magneto-hydrodynamic/caterpillar drive, the sub is capable of silent drive without ever being detected… and Ramius is using that for a purpose that he expressly wrote in a letter to the Russian Fleet Command and has undoubtedly pissed them off. CIA analyst John Patrick “Jack” Ryan (Alec Baldwin) believes that Ramius is rather trying to defect to the United States rather than the majority opinion fueled by the Russian’s info that Ramius has gone apeshit and plans an independent missile launch. For that, he must prove his theory and find Ramius and contact him, before either American or Russian ships blow his Russian ass out of this earth.

It’s obvious the fact that after reading the book, there’s going to be some bias involved due to the problems with adaptations since our knowledge will be used for our benefit and for not. Not to mention that it’s a known fact that book is almost always better than the movie (notable exceptions? The Godfather, Dances with Wolves, and others I can’t remember). The screenplay leaves a lot of stuff out, and creates via cinematic license a couple of alternate scenarios, and yes that takes a bit of luster out of this film.

But never mind that; let’s judge the film on its own merits. On its own it’s actually a better film than what you would expect. Sure, in our times, the Cold War thing maybe a tough thing to sell, and it will immediately qualify as a period piece, but regardless, John McTiernan keeps the film’s focus on the plot, and manages to maintain a consistent pace, not too fast and not too slow. The movie ultimately is more of a critique of the Cold War itself rather than a bashing of either American or Russian sides, as it shows in the ironic montage of the Red October being chased by the USS Dallas commanded by Bart Mancuso (Scott Glenn) as it shifts back and forth between the evasive action and Ramius’s lament and critique about the psychological battles of the Cold war and the price that it inflicted back home which is even more costly than a true war, all for the elusive gain of power of either side.

Aiding the plot of course are the production values, notably the cinematography by Jan de Bont (before he go the loony idea that he could direct) which uses cold, depressed colors to give you a glimpse of the Cold War atmosphere that reigned at the film’s setting. The film is also filled with realistic Sub designs and the obvious use of special effects based on Clancy’s known technical input on the subject. The visual FX maybe a bit dated but the sound FX which are obviously vital especially since this is a sub movie (Das Boot anyone?) are very well made.
I have to agree that Alec Baldwin makes for a more interesting Jack Ryan since he shows actually to be a bit more intelligent and more determined, and gives a special charisma to the character. Sean Connery though is great as Captain Ramius and despite his attempted hiding of his Scottish accent he comes off very believable, giving him a human complexity and a sense of conflict between confidence and inner desperation. James Earl Jones, Scott Glenn and Sam Neill as XO Vasili Borodin also play out very well in their roles.

In the end, this film is one of the better Cold War films of the time, and it has aged because of it, but nevertheless, it’s quite an entertaining film and unquestionably the best adaptation of a Tom Clancy novel so far; too bad that they didn’t follow the same trend in the later Jack Ryan films. 4-5

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originally posted: 10/24/04 03:47:08
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell boring imho 1 stars
2/27/14 Madame de Merteuil Connery & Baldwin are excellent + great plot 5 stars
7/22/09 bethany cox Very, very good submarine movie, only let down by a sometimes confusing story! 4 stars
1/14/09 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
10/29/07 Jack Sommersby Quite entertaining with solid performances. 4 stars
3/07/07 David Pollastrini Connery is brilliant in this 5 stars
8/26/05 EZ One of the best plots ever, superb film 5 stars
8/13/05 ES Mr. Connery your best when your at your best 5 stars
3/25/05 me A damn fine Clancy adaptation, Sum of all Fears was tripe compared to this 4 stars
3/06/05 N. Peterson Absolutely stunning, and if you like the movie, read the book! 5 stars
1/14/05 Aaron Smith my favorite sub movie 4 stars
1/09/05 John Parr Extremely good 4 stars
5/31/04 Nobody The first and best of the movies based on clancy's books. 5 stars
11/29/03 john great cast Connery and Baldwin are phenomenal - a modern day sea adventure 5 stars
11/19/03 michaelb14 one of my favorites 5 stars
11/10/03 Lin Rainey Loved it! Good story, good acting, Baldwin is very winning 5 stars
8/08/03 3man Exciting movie if a bit overhyped 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Ironically, brooding Baldwin almost sinks a sub film 4 stars
8/20/02 Lisa Lou Gettespar Promising story becomes a bit waterlogged 4 stars
8/08/02 Jack Thompson best sub flick there is, hands down 5 stars
6/11/02 Spanky He shlipped on hish tea! harrison beats the pus out of baldwin 5 stars
3/31/02 Rockitman007 The Best Submarine movie ever!!! 5 stars
1/23/02 Andrew Carden I Just Couldn't Help Liking This Movie. 5 stars
10/29/01 Fred Mills Jr. Dialogue is very Techy, only someone like me would know it, but good nonetheless! 5 stars
10/25/01 sub man baldwin was cheated out of patriot games. evil games were played against him by others. 4 stars
10/09/01 jawsboy great fun!! McTiernan rules!!! 4 stars
9/10/01 Racheal McCoy I watched it one time and was totally hooked! And I like Sean Connery's accent! 5 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk great adaption of Clancy's novel...Baldwin was a boner for not reprising this role. 4 stars
7/03/01 bront best modern sub movie around, equal with crimson tide 5 stars
1/12/01 R.W. Welch Good Cold War yarn with insights into the new high tech submarine warfare. 4 stars
11/24/00 The Evil Penguin Connery and Baldwin at their best 4 stars
7/12/00 Terrie Smith Good adaptation of the novel; Connery and Baldwin in good form. 4 stars
1/17/00 CM An all time favourite of mine. Excellent. 5 stars
11/04/99 Karahde Khan Connery is great, and Baldwin didn't annoy me. Best Clancy-based movie. 4 stars
10/24/99 Lame-Oh it was great 4 stars
7/07/99 Ben Leostein Rating: *** (out of ****) Category: "Good" 4 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink If it wasn't for the explosion at the end,I would have slept the whole night in theatre 1 stars
11/13/98 Jules Really excellent story, well done in movie form, even if Sean's Russian is horrific... 5 stars
11/03/98 Kimberly Murphy-Smith Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery in the same film? Yum. Awesome flick. 4 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob McTiernan CAN do suspense (it needed chicks in bikinis water skiing behind the sub, though) 4 stars
9/15/98 Badass AWESOME! 5 stars
9/06/98 Admiral Mung Bean Soda (+/- 12db) Couldn't Connery have at least *tried* to do a Russian accent? Like no-one would notice.... 3 stars
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  02-Mar-1990 (PG)



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