Plot: What’s it about?
Gene Hackman plays a no nonsense Captain of the nuclear missile submarine U.S.S. Alabama who brings Denzel Washington on board as his new Executive Officer. Capt. Ramsey (Hackman) is from the old school where you follow your orders to the letter without question and Mr. Hunter (Washington), whose background includes Annapolis and Harvard is the new generation of thinking man who has a philosophical outlook on the ramifications of war especially with nuclear weapons. Ramsey’s disdain for these new thinkers (Hunter included) is quite obvious from the start. When a renegade Russian leader threatens to use nuclear weapons the Alabama is called to action as a deterrent and possible first strike platform. The Alabama’s final orders to launch are cut off in mid transmission and could not be confirmed. Hunter believes, until the orders are confirmed no action should be taken as to avoid the possible outbreak of nuclear war, which starts his own conflict with Captain Ramsey. As the fight for command ensues, the crew is tested by their conscience and loyalty. The race for control is a roller coaster ride of excitement we usually see in a Simpson/Bruckheimer (Top Gun) production…so you won’t be disappointed.
I like both of these actors but was surprised to see Denzel Washington’s name before Hackman’s in the credits. No contest in my mind. Must be a (Hollywood)…what have you done for me lately thing. With the real worry of who has control of the nuclear arsenals since the breakup of the Soviet Union, this storyline is quite believable. The look of the sub…awesome details…and realistic sounding orders and procedures by the crew add to the realism of the movie. I believe this is probably due to the use of two retired Captains of the U.S.S. Alabama (Blue and Gold crews) as technical advisors… good move from whoever made this decision. As citizens, we sit in our comfortable homes and watch DVD’s, depending on proper judgment in the use of nuclear weapons. The possibility of this scenario happening…or maybe it already has is a bit unnerving. The way they handled the last scenes in and out of the court in Pearl Harbor was well done in my opinion
Video: How does it look?
Well done in this department. Sometimes I get bummed by letterbox because of the mass of unused area on my big screen. Once I’m into a good movie though…like this one, I don’t really notice it.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is where it really shines, as soon as the movie starts we hear from Mr. Subwoofer, a big plus in my book (I have felt on the back of the picture frames in my living room). The fire scene in the galley is awesome, as the flames seem to come to life through your speakers. Good mix of music and action won’t disappoint any of you diehard AC-3 fans. Another area Simpson/Bruckheimer excels at. If you are fan of submarine movies The Hunt For Red October is great in 5.1 surround but the video not quite what we see in this release.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This is simple, there aren’t any…what’s that all about. It didn’t keep me from buying the DVD but I like being spoiled by the virtual cornucopia (I always wanted to say that) of special features on most DVD’s. I doubt most people watch everything on their DVD’s but I do, even if it’s later on.