The Hunt for Red October (1990)


My Morse is so Rusty, I Could Be Sending Him Dimension on Playmate of the Month

Leave it to my friend Forty to actually request my review of a good movie.  One of the first, to my recollection.  In all honesty, I don’t really mind watching bad movies most of the time because I tend to find them amusing.  But, every once and a while, I should probably be asked to watch a good one so I don’t kill myself or simply die from From Justin to Kelly-related aneurisms.  Forty’s movie request was for a classic movie that – as with many classically awesome movies – had eluded me thus far, but it is a movie I wanted to see at some point.  And now I have.  I’m talking about The Hunt for Red October, based on a Tom Clancy novel, directed by John McTiernan, and starring Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Sam Neill, Scott Glenn, James Earl Jones, Stellan Skarsgard, Tim Curry, Joss Ackland, Courtney B. Vance, Jeffrey Jones, and Fred Dalton Thompson.

Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones) brings some pictures of a new fancy submarine to CIA operative Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin).  With the help of submarine expert Skip Tyler (Jeffrey Jones), they figure out that this picture is of a spankin’ new Typhoon-class submarine with a propulsion system called a “Caterpillar Drive” that makes sonar detection extremely difficult, allowing it the potential to get all up in America’s Kool-Aid without even knowing the flavor, and even boil that Kool-Aid with nuclear warheads.  This submarine is called the Red October.  At first, the Joint Chiefs of Staff wet themselves, but then Jack Ryan poses the possibility that the prestigious commander of the Red October, Marko Alexandrovich Ramius (Sean Connery), may want to defect.  The Joint Chiefs give Ryan 3 days to confirm Ramius’ intentions.  The Russians are after him to destroy him before the American’s get their new sub, the Americans are after him to stop him from possibly launching nukes at them, and Ryan’s after him to find out what he’s up to.  Thus begins the hunt for the Red October.

I feel like I’m one of the last people around to reach this conclusion but, here it goes: fuck this movie.  Just kidding, Forty!  This movie rules!  I haven’t always seen eye to eye with this Tom Clancy feller.  Some of his games got way more popular than I felt they warranted, and I’ve heard mixed reviews about some of his other movies, though I don’t know that I’ve seen any of them.  I had worried that, as is the case in some of his video games, I would think they were overrated.  But nay!  This is a good movie.  His story works really well, especially with how well-executed it is.  Most of the story of this movie is just about Ramius’ intentions, stretched into a little over 2 hours.  It’s not until around the last 20 minutes of the movie when you are actually sure of what his actual intentions are.  There are times when you’re sure he’s going to defect, other times when you know he wants to hijack the Red October and blow up America to start a war, and other parts where you have no idea.  And, seeing as the movie takes one idea and stretches it over 2 hours, you’d think it’d get really boring.  I don’t recall being bored at all in this movie.  From the start of the movie the tension builds as different groups get closer and closer to the Red October until the end where it just climaxes all over the audiences faces.  …EWWWWWWW!

There is quite the cast to this movie, as you may have gathered from the long list in the opening paragraph.  Alec Baldwin, still young and handsome, tore it up in this movie.  I never really believed Sean Connery’s accent was Russian, but he was a badass.  One of our first scenes with the guy shows him killing a fellow officer with extreme prejudice and the corner of a table.  He also had one of the best lines in the movie, involving how things react to bullets.  He had a smaller part in this, but I found myself watching Sam Neill more than anyone else in the movie for some reason.  He was a strong character that opened up to Ramius with some kind of sweet and innocent intentions about his new life in America if their defection works out.  I sure hope that works out for him.  I liked Courtney B. Vance as the really good sonar guy; like the action movie version of Harland Williams from Down Periscope.  Joss Ackland was pretty good as well, but I could not see him as anything but DeNomolos from Bill & Ted.  Though I’m usually excited to see him, I was extra excited to see Stellan Skarsgard in a good movie that came out long before I knew he existed, and he was also excellent, if under-used.  The entire cast was great, so I won’t waste more time just saying that.  Take actors name and add “was really good” to the end.

So there you go, Fortissimo.  Good story, great thrills, excellent tension, top notch performances.  This here is the recipe for a good movie.  You’ve probably already seen this movie, so I’m telling you that you should watch it again.  If you haven’t seen it yet, I can’t yell at you because I just saw it myself, but now I’ve seen it so it’s only a matter of time before I’m allowed to yell at you for not watching a really good action-thriller.  The Hunt for Red October gets “Some things in here don’t react well to bullets” out of “And I will have a pickup truck”.

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

4 responses to “The Hunt for Red October (1990)

  1. You know for sure what Ramius wants to do when he has that first dinner with all the big wigs in the sub. The dinner starts with Sam Neil’s character asking Tim Currys character for some reports. Once he is sent off on his BS task the conversation starts and it’s made clear what Ramius wants to do.

      • I must respectfully say … bite me! Also by capitalizing the word “really” you can question anyone’s intentions in a movie. Did Frodo REALLY want to destroy the one ring throughout the whole adventure? Did “The Dalton” REALLY want to help clean up that bar? FACE!

      • Obviously Frodo DIDN’T want to destroy the one ring or the end of the movie would’ve been him just tossing it in, but he didn’t did he?! FACE/OFF! And it’s spelled THE Dalton.

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