If you're the type of person who goes on the submarine ride every
time you visit Disneyland, you're going to love THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER.
You'll also love the film if you enjoy cat and mouse military tactics, or
if you're a Sean Connery or Alec Baldwin fan, or if you admired director
John McTiernan's earlier films, DIE HARD and PREDATOR. In fact, the only
people likely to be disappointed with THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER are those
who have read the book, since films almost never live up to the novels
which inspired them.
THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER is an epic thriller, adapted from Tom
Clancy's best selling novel. Set in an era before Glasnost, the movie
revolves around a top-secret Soviet submarine, called the Red October. The
nuclear sub has a revolutionary propulsion system, which makes the vessel
silent and allows it to escape sonar detection. The Red October embarks on
its maiden voyage under the command of Captain Marko Ramius, played by Sean
Connery. Ramius has strict orders just to test the submarine, but he has
other ideas. He takes the sub and its crew and disappears into the
Atlantic Ocean. Is he planning to start World War III? CIA Analyst Jack
Ryan doesn't think so; he's convinced that Ramius plans to defect to the
U.S. Ryan, played by Alec Baldwin, is given three days to prove his theory
and find the missing sub.
The characters in THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER are paper thin, but the
performances, thankfully, are rock solid. Baldwin and Connery anchor the
film with their customary vigor. Sam Neil gives a sturdy performance as
Connery's somber first officer. It's ironic to see Neil and Connery
playing Russians, since they are both best known for their roles as British
agents, Connery as James Bond and Neil as Reilly, "Ace of Spies." The
large cast also includes Scott Glenn, James Earl Jones, Tim Curry, and Joss
Ackland, plus Richard Jordan as the smooth U.S. national security adviser.
The special effects are remarkable, but more than anything, THE
HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER is distinguished by its water-tight plot.
Screenwriters Larry Ferguson and Donald Stewart have gracefully navigated
RED OCTOBER through a story line full of twists and turns. They keep us
involved in the action by unveiling plot strands at just the right moment.
The movie doesn't get as sweaty or breathless as DIE HARD, because
it would rather tell a good story than hit you over the head with non-stop
action. The finale is rousing and suspenseful, but essentially, THE HUNT
FOR RED OCTOBER is a superior potboiler.
Copyright © 1990 Randy Parker