In spite of the high level of talent on board and at the helm, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER is a heavy-duty mediocrity, sluggish, unwieldy, and instantly forgettable. The plot revolves around Marko Ramius (Sean Connery), a veteran Soviet sub commander who is guiding the new, super-advanced
Red October submarine on its maiden mission. Abruptly, Ramius murders the onboard political officer and burns his orders. Red October is supposed to participate in war games meant to showcase its ability to evade sonar detection and deliver a full load of nuclear missiles to major American
targets. Ramius instead tells his crew that they will approach the US coastline to embarrass the American military. In fact, he has something very different in mind. When Ramius goes off course, factions within the US military and government suspect a sneak attack. Guided by CIA analyst Dr. Jack
Ryan (Alec Baldwin), who happens to be an expert on Ramius, the American security brain trust has to decide whether the Russians are telling the truth. Then they must choose the appropriate response--either help the Russians sink Red October (the FAIL SAFE scenario) or help Ramius defect.
Tom Clancy's exciting (albeit instantly dated) Cold War bestseller served as the basis for the film. But on the screen, RED OCTOBER suffers from a bad case of bloated scenario, lacking unities of place and action. In simpler terms, it should have stayed put, either above the surface or in the
briny depths. Instead, the two major plots--two different movies, really--wind up neutralizing each other. Each time McTiernan cuts from one setting to the other, he's forced to start from scratch in rebuilding tension and involvement. Moreover, Larry Ferguson's adaptation doesn't bother to supply
motivation for its stock, square-jawed characters. Ryan is so short of substance viewers may find it hard to remember that he's the movie's hero. While James Earl Jones reprised his role in subsequent Clancy-based pictures (PATRIOT GAMES, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER), notoriously obstreperous Baldwin
lost the Ryan role to Harrison Ford after a contract dispute.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1990
- Rating: PG
- Review: In spite of the high level of talent on board and at the helm, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER is a heavy-duty mediocrity, sluggish, unwieldy, and instantly forgettable. The plot revolves around Marko Ramius (Sean Connery), a veteran Soviet sub commander who is g… (more)