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(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you're the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I'd encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few modest hints at `things to come,' then read on ...)
In the late 60's, a battle-tested Soviet submarine captain nearing the end of his career, Demi (played by the reliable Ed Harris) returns to base only to find out he's been assigned to command a relic: an old diesel sub is on the verge of being retired and sold to the Chinese for their new navy. His senior officer thinks it apropos that Demi - who first captained the sub - see it through on its last mission, and, a consummate professional, he agrees. However, once they're out to see, Demi finds his authority usurped a KGB officer, Bruni (David Duchovny), who's intent on using the ship to test a new naval weapon known only as `Phantom.Read more ›
As a former submariner who rode these old vessels I found this film fascinating. One story was that the US sunk this ship. This movie presents a different version.
The story is simple. The KGB goes rogue with a submarine with the intent of launching a first strike at the US, making it look like China did it. The film creates characters and internal conflicts to make the story interesting.
Kudos to the film for getting the submarine terminology and capability correct. This aspect was more realistic than most sub films.
There are some problems with the basic scenario. First off in 1968, China had only one Golf style submarine operational. It did NOT have launch capabilities. They wouldn't develop that until 1970. The second problem is that nuclear bombs have signature. We could figure out the difference between a crude Chinese graphite reactor bomb and a slightly more sophisticated Russian bomb. So the premise of the film while interesting, doesn't seem plausible.
Another film goof was when they encountered the USS Skipjack. The Skipjack was stationed out of Norfolk and operated in that area in 1968. The submarine in the Pacific was the USS Swordfish, i.e. a Skipjack class sub, but not the Skipjack itself.
The actors did what they could with a dry script. Landlubbers may find this film a complete bore and rightly so. We already know they fail. Extras include a talk about the real incident on which the film was based.
Parental Guide: F-bomb. No sex or nudity.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a former submariner, I buy and collect all submarine-oriented movies. This one has quite an interesting narrative, and, of course, look at the two main stars? Read morePublished 3 months ago by Rich Holtzin
this was purchased on a whim - and was well worth the purchase. there were surprises galore in this DVD.Published 4 months ago by C. Pittman
Based on actual events, this movie highlights the real fear of nuclear weapons, from a time not that long ago. Read morePublished 5 months ago by markparisi
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