Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Hunt for Red October (1990) [PG] *****


Russian submarine Captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) is a career naval officer; despite being Lithuanian he's risen through the ranks, and has also trained most of the fleet's attack submarine officers. Now he's been given command of the motherland's newest achievement, the Red October, a ballistic missile submarine featuring a magnetohydrodynamic, or caterpillar, drive - a nearly-silent propulsion system designed to allow the Red October to approach by stealth and shower its target with multiple warhead missiles with little or no warning - a submarine which can have but one purpose, to start a war. This is the taut, exciting story of how CIA agent Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) comes to the conclusion that Ramius and his officers want to defect to the U.S. with the Red October, and then figures out how Ramius plans to do it. Ryan manages to contact Ramius on the North Atlantic high seas despite the fact that both the U.S. and Russian navies are trying to hunt down and destroy the Red October, and then Ryan puts into motion a dangerous and risky plan to help Ramius succeed in defecting with the submarine.

The intricately plotted screenplay is very faithful to Tom Clancy's novel, the sets are realistic, the musical score is thrilling, the casting is perfect and the acting by Connery and Baldwin is inspired. There are also outstanding supporting performances by James Earl Jones as Ryan's CIA boss Adm. James Greer, Richard Jordan as National Security Advisor Jeffrey Pelt, Fred Dalton Thompson as Admiral Joshua Painter on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, Scott Glenn as Commander Bart Mancuso on the attack submarine USS Dallas, Courtney B. Vance as Sonarman Ronald Jones on the Dallas, Sam Neill as Executive Officer Vasily Borodin on the Red October, Tim Curry as Dr. Petrov on the Red October, Joss Ackland as Russian Ambassador Andrei Lysenko, Stellan Skarsgard as Captain Victor Tupolev on the Russian attack submarine Konovalov, and Jeffrey Jones as submariner Skip Tyler. If you enjoy exciting, classic military/political action thrillers, don't miss this one.

Labels: action, adventure, spy, thriller
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 58/100
Tomatometer (critics=86, viewers=89)
Blu-ray