I’ll be honest that I have not seen any of the other movies featuring Jack Ryan, Tom Clancy’s less-glamorous answer to James Bond, so I have no idea how successfully Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, or the recent Chris Pine have carried on the role that Alec Baldwin began in The Hunt for Red October. My VC, however, loves Red October with a passion and considers it to be the best role of Baldwin’s career; Rotten Tomatoes also indicates that it was the best of the Jack Ryan adaptations, with a significantly higher 95%.
It’s a taut thriller to be sure, though it does take a while for events to heat up. Much of the first hour is spent with guesswork about what the sub is, where Ramius is going, and what his intentions might be. Some cool underwater effects highlight the midsection, but once Ryan gets aboard the Dallas, things really get good. The finale featuring a sub battle and Ryan’s confrontation with the spy simultaneously is among the most gripping climaxes of any thriller.
There are also quite a few recognizable names I had forgotten in the credits. Aside from Baldwin and a brief cameo by Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation), we have Scott Glenn (The Right Stuff, The Silence of the Lambs)as Captain Mancuso of the Dallas; Jeffrey Jones (Principal Rooney in Ferris Bueller) as a bearded sub expert; James Earl Jones (Darth Vader) as Ryan’s boss; Tim Curry, Stellan Skarsgard, and Sam Neill as Russians with varying loyalties; and the ever-distinguished Sean Connery as Captain Ramius. Connery bestows a unique dignity to all of his films, proving himself a thespian of the highest order. Plus, my VC loves the scene in which he eats with his officers, claiming that he has “chewable lips,” which she read in a magazine some years ago. Women.
While many were skeptical how well the convoluted Clancy novel would fare on the big screen, The Hunt for Red October surpassed expectations and even won an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing. It certainly deserves a place on my list and any list of great political thrillers.
P.S. Today I am celebrating my 100th poem in this year-long challenge!!!!!!!!! While I’m a tad behind, I plan to catch up somewhere along the line. Thank you to all of you who have liked and followed my blog along the way, and I ask that you continue to push that “like” button whenever you can. Every “like” fills me with satisfaction that I’m doing something right anyway. Feel free to comment as well about any movies you enjoy or if you disagree with anything on my list so far. Here’s to the next 265!
Best line: (National Security Advisor Jeffrey Pelt, when the Russian ambassador says that they have lost contact with the sub sent to destroy Red October) “Andrei, you’ve lost another submarine?” (And he’s eating jelly beans!)Artistry: 7 Characters/Actors: 8 Entertainment: 7 Visual Effects: 7 Originality: 7 Watchability: 6 Other (language): -7
TOTAL: 35 out of 60
Next: #265 – Cloak and Dagger (1984)
© 2014 S. G. Liput