Anthony's Film Review

The Hunt for Red October (1990)

This military thriller based on a Tom Clancy novel is interesting to say the least...

The Hunt for Red October is a military thriller film based on the novel of the same name by Tom Clancy. If there's one positive thing I can say about the movie, it's that the premise is creative enough to make you curious. Instead of a totally bland Cold War story of Americans versus Soviets, we have a story of Americans versus Soviets versus a rogue Soviet. Sean Connery plays a Soviet submarine captain named Marko Ramius, who leads a crew on the Red October nuclear submarine that has a revolutionary propulsion system rendering the sub virtually silent during movement. He defies orders from his Soviet superiors and instead navigates the sub towards the United States. But for what purpose?

Let me first make one comment about the star. Sean Connery is an interesting choice for an actor to play a Russian submarine captain. Quite honestly, he's not the most convincing Russian character played by a non-Russian actor, because his accent is only a tiny bit Russian and is mostly his familiar native Scottish accent. In fact, many of the other Russian characters on the submarine also have very slight Russian accents. Yet, Connery plays a man who is a bit mysterious so that it's hard to tell what his real intentions are. Does he want to start war with the United States, or does he actually want to defect to the West?

CIA intelligence analyst Jack Ryan, played by Alec Baldwin, thinks it's the latter. He cleverly deduces that Ramius is defecting based on known details about the man and even his own past experience of meeting Ramius in person. Yet, the United States Navy is skeptical, even as they learn that the Soviets are also hunting down the Red October, not just the Americans. Now Ryan has to work to prove his theory correct, or else a destructive war breaks out between the United States and the Soviet Union.

While this movie is classified as an action thriller, I am more inclined to call it a military drama, because the scenes taking place on the Red October and at various U.S. naval sites are characterized by dialogue that moves the story along. For example, an American submarine is talking about how the Red October just disappeared from their radar unexpectedly, and members of the crew of the Red October deal with an evacuation to avoid dangerous leaking radiation. If you're looking for action, you'll mainly see it in the film's climax. It's done well, though it doesn't change my characterization of this movie as a military drama.

Overall, this is an OK movie. It's somewhat surprising, because the director is John McTiernan, who directed the blockbuster action movie Die Hard two years earlier. So if you've seen Die Hard, just believe me when I say that The Hunt for Red October is a different kind of movie from the same director. You'll like it if you enjoy military stories that aren't heavy on action but still have thrilling moments. Just be sure to ignore Sean Connery's lack of a Russian accent in this movie. Otherwise, have fun.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about The Hunt for Red October, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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