2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the Jack Ryan film series.
Based on Tom Clancy's 1984 novel of the same title, "The Hunt for Red October" is the first Jack Ryan adventure on film. Although I like Harrison Ford better in the role of Jack Ryan than either Alec Baldwin or Ben Affleck, "Red October" is the best of the Ryan films partly because of the script, but largely because of the ensemble cast including...
Published on June 27 2004 by rnorton828
3.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, poor DVD transfer
Like other reviewers here, I agree in the great quality of the movie but this is by far the worse DVD transfer I have seen. I have seen hundreds of DVDs and none have the poor quality this one has. Blacks are not black and there is "noise" on the picture that you can see all throughout the movie. It is almost like you are watching the movie with a layer of...
Published on July 19 2002 by Bill Stockstill
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the Jack Ryan film series.,
Based on Tom Clancy's 1984 novel of the same title, "The Hunt for Red October" is the first Jack Ryan adventure on film. Although I like Harrison Ford better in the role of Jack Ryan than either Alec Baldwin or Ben Affleck, "Red October" is the best of the Ryan films partly because of the script, but largely because of the ensemble cast including Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, Tim Curry, James Earl Jones and, of course, Sean Connery as Captain Marko Ramius, the Lithuanian-born commanding officer on the Soviet nuclear submarine Red October who seeks to defect to the United States. Tension builds as Ramius and the Red October move closer to U.S. waters with the Soviet Navy in pursuit and U.S. forces unsure of Ramius' true intentions. "The Hunt for Red October" is a taut thriller, an excellent movie based on a modern masterpiece of a novel, and I fully recommend it.
5.0 out of 5 stars An intellectual thriller of the highest caliber,
This review is from: The Hunt for Red October (Special Collector's Edition) (DVD)
While I usually try to avoid all things Baldwin, this film is just way too good to miss. It’s hard to imagine a more compelling storyline, which centers on a preeminent Soviet submarine captain going rogue with the shiniest new toy in the Soviet arsenal – the Red October, a new Typhoon class submarine designed for the purpose of sneaking past US defenses and delivering a devastating first strike in any war between the two Cold War adversaries. No one knows what this captain is going to do – not the Soviets and not the Americans. Obviously, the greatest and most likely outcome is an attack on the eastern US that would initiate World War III. At the same time, however, there is also the possibility that Captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) might be trying to defect. Neither outcome is palatable to the Soviet regime, so they send the bulk of their fleet toward the North Atlantic to find and destroy the Red October. For the Americans, though, it’s not so simple. Only one thing is clear – they have to find the sub before it penetrates America’s coastal defenses and figure out what Captain Ramius is planning to do. That’s where CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) comes in.
The film’s cinematography is excellent – well, apart from what appears to me to be a rather poor green screen shot in the final scene. It can’t be easy to film the bulk of a movie within the close quarters of a submarine – granted, the Red October is pretty freakin’ huge for a sub, but it’s still a sub. Director John McTiernan may be known for blowing up everything in sight in Die Hard, but there really are no extravagant special effects in this movie. This is an intellectual thriller, where subtle hints and exercises in logic drive the story, and when all is said and done you can easily come to believe that everything you’ve seen might really have happened. Tom Clancy really was a master storyteller who took care that no loose strings were left behind.
I'm not going to compare this to other movies featuring Jack Ryan, largely because the only other one I’ve seen is The Sum of All Fears, which features another actor I don’t care for. I will say that Alec Baldwin was good in this movie. Sean Connery, of course, steals the show. His Russian accent won’t win any awards, but the stoicism and inscrutability with which he plays his character really maintains the suspense and keeps you guessing what he’s really up to for most of the movie. He’s equally believable as both a defector and a madman determined to start World War III. The supporting cast, boasting the likes of James Earl Jones, Sam Neill, Tim Curry, and Fred Thompson is top-notch, as well. And, with a running time of two hours and fifteen minutes, you truly get your money’s worth from The Hunt for Red October.
5.0 out of 5 stars What is Captain Ramius thinking?,
The date 1984 still in the time of the Soviet Union. The latest class of submarine was just completed. Rumor has it that it has a type of propulsion that would make it invisible to the U.S. detectors. A perfect first strike vehicle. It is about to take its maiden voyage with Captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) from Georgia at the helm. Along with him is his second in command and confidant Captain 2nd Rank Vasily Borodin (Sam Neill). Keeping a close eye on them is Political Officer Ivan Yurevich Putin (Peter Firth) and probably others.
The submarine, named Red October seems to have disappeared. Both the Soviet government and the U.S. government are sweating. Does this mean that somehow Captain Marko Ramius has broken his bonds and initiating first strike to become a hero?
CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) reads the same sings and comes up with a different conclusion. For his insight he will have to travel by helicopter to the U.S. sub in pursuit.
Based on a Tom Clancy Novel the film has all the pacing and intrigue of the novel. More than just another run of the mill sub movie this is a battle of wills and understanding. Very few Cowboys under water scenes.
Even thought Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin are the main focus of the film the scene where Captain Ramius and Captain Borodin are discussing their future is quite moving and unforgettable especially when the future is played out.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies you will ever see,
Tom Clancy is a master writer. His books are amazing thrillers and the moives haven't been that bad either. This is the best of all the Tom Clancy books that have been made into moives and is one of the best book adaptations ever.
Captian Ramius(Connery) is the best the Soviet fleet has to offer. He's trained most of it and he's now in charge of a new Soviet sub. This sub has a new drive system that runs silent meaning it can't be detected by other subs sonars. After Ramius writes a letter to the Soviet Naval command the search is on. They alert the Americans saying Ramius and his crew has gone mad.
The Hunt for The Red October is on. The U.S. can't play around on this idea because the October could park in any U.S. bay and launch hundreds of Nuclear missiles. Jack Ryan(Baldwin) is a CIA Operative that gets selected to help with this mission. He's met Ramius before and doesn't believe that the man wants to harm the U.S. He believes that Ramius wants to defect along with his officers to the U.S., but he's not sure how Ramius is planning to do it. He now has only a couple of hours to prove the intentions of Ramius and save the ship before the U.S. or Soviet fleets find it and sink her.
All the actors are fantastic in the movie. Alec Baldwin is Jack Ryan is flawless. He played the role to perfection and it's the best movie he's ever made. Sean Connery is the man. Instead of killing Soviets he plays one to perfection in this moive. I love his accent and I though he did a great job of faking it. I loved Sam Neil in the moive. His character Vasily has always been one of my favorites because of his loyalty to Ramius. One of Neils best performances. Tim Curry is good as the weasal Soviet doctor. He plays a weasal better than anybody else. James Earl Jones is himself in this movie and like Connery is just the man. I also like Courtney Vance as 2nd Petty Officer Jones. He gives one of the most memorable performances of the movie. This is an all star cast and everybody is fantastic.
John Mctiernan is one of the best directors in Hollywood. He was one of the biggest when this moive was done with hit titles under his belt like Die Hard and Predator. He can make a good action thriller and this is one of the best ones ever made.
The cinematography is great in the film. You feel like your on real naval ships. The uniforms are authenic on both fleets. The sound is fantastic. This is such a well made movie and the is the movie that all submarine movies should stive to look like.
This is such a good movie. It's made to perfection with a great cast, well made, awesome score, and is just flawless. If you want to sit down and watch a good action thriller than this is it. You will struggle to find a better made movie than this.
5.0 out of 5 stars The only thing that beats watching this is reading the book!,
By A Customer
Hunt for Red October is an amazing movie, full of lots of plot twists and turns. I would recommend this movie for an fan of action/war movies. The best parts of the movie take place on the two main submarines: the USS Dallas and the Red October. These scenes detail the cat and mouse hunt between the Dallas and the Red October. This "hunt" is gripping and very suspenseful. The end of the movie is also great and very satisfying, though I won't give it away.
If you are considering watching this movie, I have one caveat for you: read the book by Tom Clancy first. The book has better dialogue than the movie, along with much more action and battles(as if the movie didn't have enough!). If you are interested by naval battles or aerial dogfights, read the book! Both the book and the movie were so exciting that they could be used for Navy/Coast Guard recruitment videos!
The only bad part about the movie is that it doesn't quite live up to the book. However, the book is as close to perfect as one can get, so the movie had no chance of equaling it.
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb film version of Clancy's excellent novel!,
This is one of my very favorite movies of all time. It is, of course, the story of a Soviet submarine captain attempting to defect to the United States with his state-of-the-art "first strike" submarine during the latter days of the Cold War. The bestselling novel upon which the movie is based is the one that made Tom Clancy famous, and the movie hews close to the original story, rarely straying from it.
Sean Connery is magnificent as Captain Marko Ramius, the Soviet sub captain. He absolutely becomes the role, and whenever I re-read the novel I see Connery in my mind's eye as Ramius. Alec Baldwin does fine as Jack Ryan, although I don't find him to be nearly as good as Harrison Ford, who plays Ryan in the subsequent "Jack Ryan" movies (e.g. Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger). He's wildly better than Affleck though. While some reviewers have been critical of Baldwin as Jack Ryan, my own opinion is that he succeeded, and probably made a serious career mistake by not ensuring that he played Ryan in the subsequent films. Sam Neil does his customary stellar job as Ramius' second-in-command and co-conspirator. By the way, I thought that the actors who played the other Russian submarine officers all did fine jobs. They seemed Russian, at least to me.
The entire supporting cast does very well in this film, and everything comes together very effectively, making this one of the truly great films about the Cold War. The story transports from novel to Silver Screen beautifully, and the DVD is excellent. This is one that belongs in everyone's collection, and it is one that you will watch over and over again.
5.0 out of 5 stars Taunt and Compelling,
Adapting any book to the screen is a tall order, but adapting a dense Tom Clancy book, like "The Hunt for Red October," is easily concievable as a challenge. In part, that is why this film adaption is so watchable. It still keeps the meticulous essence of the book while maintaining an up-tempo pace. That part is due to talented action director John Mctiernan (Die Hard, Predator, The Thomas Crown Affair). Already having made a name for himself with the teriffic "Die Hard," Mctiernan brought that same sense of preciseness and pace to this film. But it would be irresponsinble to neglect the films' outstanding cast, which include Alec Baldwin pulling out a great performance as the reluctant hero Jack Ryan, the crusty Sean Connery as the stoic Russian submarine captain, Sam Neil as his loyal first mate, Tim Curry as the Russian ships' doctor and James Earl Jones as the head of the CIA.
The film starts as Connery takes a revolutionary Russian nucleur sub Red October in a daring attempt to defect to the Americans. When the Russians get wind of this, they stop it nothing to retrieve the sub before the Americans. A tense chase insues as the Red October is caught between the American Atlantic fleet and half the Russian navy. To try and help the Captain in his quest, CIA specialist Jack Ryan boards the sub to help it reach safety. But in their midst their may be a sabateur with more loyality to his country than his Captain.
The exciting story is compounded by the films' up-tempo pace, exceptional cast and tense action. Though my favorite Jack Ryan is Harrison Ford (hey, he's Harrison Ford, one cannot help but get behind him) Alec Baldwin gets that close to passing him as Ryan. In some ways, Baldwin makes better decisions about how to portray the hero than Ford, surprisingly. All this adds up to one of the best action movies I have seen.
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding Techno-Spy Thriller!,
Having read many of Tom Clancy's wonderful techno-thrillers before this quite faithful adaptation came to the screen, I was amazed at just how fine a job had been done in bringing the complex, quite literate, and endlessly evolving plot that Clancy used to such advantage in spinning this story about a Soviet submarine commander attempting to defect to the west along with the latest and most technologically sophisticated and stealthy boomer, or missile-firing, submarine (christened the Red October in honor of the date of the Russian revolution) with an unsuspecting crew in tow. An all-star cast helps to bring the epic tale to life, including Sean Connery in yet another terrific character role as the legendary Captain Marco Remis, a Lithuanian skipper who recognizes that such a stealthy missile sub will tip the strategic balance and enable the reactionary military leadership to achieve a disarming first strike capability against the United States, which he fears will be used once the full capability of this class of submarines is realized.
Enter young Jack Ryan, a formidable CIA expert on Soviet naval capability based in London, well played here by Alex Baldwin as an aggressively intelligent academic-turned intelligence analyst who persuades his CIA mentor, Rear Admiral James Greer (played By James Earl Jones), of the impending danger of a newly designed submarine from spy photos smuggled to British Intelligence, which was puzzled by what they found. Given Remis' brilliant strategy of alerting the Soviet high command in Moscow that he has, in fact, shanghaied the sub, the western powers are quickly alerted to a massive Soviet armada suddenly deployed into the Atlantic and Ryan begins to fatefully connect the dots. Indeed, the game is afoot, or submerged, as it were.
As the plot proceeds, the game gets hotter and hotter, with so much action and so much suspense building up that it is impossible not to appreciate and enjoy. The is a wonderful film, one that will stir your patriotic juices as the same time it raises your pulse rooting for the "Ruskies" to outsmart both the Russian fleet chasing them and the American killer sub tracking it to sink it. Scott Glenn is superb as the no-nonsense skipper of the American sub tracking the Red October with deadly intent, and he is faced with contradictory possibilities he has to weigh recognizing both his crew and the safety of the continental United States may be imperiled should he fail to sink the red October.
Of course, the photography and special effects are masterful and heighten the degree of suspense and realism of the quickly transpiring action sequences. I especially like the no-frills representation of an American admiral turned in by former Senator Fred Dalton Thompson. I may not agree with his conservative politics, but his performance here is simply outstanding, albeit too brief. Glad to say, he has returned to acting, and I look forward to seeing more of him soon. The same can be said for the many strong performances by a large and very capable cast. This is a spy-thriller of the first magnitude, one I have watched again and again for it is such eye-candy and so exciting that I find myself caught up in it each time I sit down to enjoy it. I hope you will too. Enjoy!
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cold War Drama of Superior Quality,
This is the first and, in my opinion, the best of the films based on Clancy's novels. It was directed John McTiernan who must have been especially busy in the late 1980's, directing Predator (released in 1987), Die Hard (1988), and this film two years later. There was some concern about Alec Baldwin being cast as Jack Ryan but he does very well in the part, generally holding his own with Sean Connery (Captain Markus Ramius).
A few brief comments about Connery. It was in this film, I think, that he began to perfect his impersonation of himself, a tendency first indicated by his portrayal of Jim Malone in The Untouchables (1987) and then of Dr. Henry Jones in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). For years, he had portrayed a wide and diverse range of characters which include James Bond and King Arthur. He is thoroughly credible as each. And granted, it was not an easy task for him to play himself while wearing the uniform of a Russian submarine captain but much easier later when playing Richard the Lionhearted in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), John Patrick Mason in The Rock (1996), and most recently Allan Quartermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). Of course, his voice-over work is also prominent in various television commercials. Connery is now the sole owner and proprietor of his own cottage (castle?) industry.
In The Hunt for Red October, both American and Russian military forces scramble to intercept and then gain possession of the most advanced and most lethal of nuclear submarines whose location is essentially undetectable because of its stealth capabilities. Both the U.S. and Russia correctly see the Red October as a serious threat but for quite different reasons. It is Ryan's task to convince his superiors that Ramius wishes to defect, and then to convince Ramius that the U.S. government will allow him and his crew to do so.
As suggested in the novel, the technological complexities of a Typhoon class submarine (especially one such as the Red October) are beyond the comprehension of most of those who read the book and/or see the film. Author Clancy does a brilliant job when providing only the information necessary for understanding why such a submarine poses such a serious threat. The same compliment must be paid to the five writers who presumably collaborated in this film's screenplay. The focus is correctly limited to the action narrative which begins with Ryan's initial suspicion and concludes when....
Along the way, McTiernan carefully develops Ryan's relationships with his Pentagon superiors, with Captain Bart Mancuso (Scott Glenn), and eventually with Ramius. I have always admired Richard Jordan's work and he is especially effective in the role of Jeffrey Pelt, national security advisor to the President. His several conversations with a Russian official, Adrei Lysenko (Joss Ackland), are memorable. James Earl Jones (Admiral James Greer) and Fred Dalton Thompson (Admiral Painter) also make brief but significant appearances. Frankly, I was somewhat surprised by the quality and consistency of Baldwin's performance as Ryan. With all due respect to Harrison Ford, Baldwin would have also been effective in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.
This film offers great entertainment, combining high drama with delightful (always appropriate) humor. When first seeing The Hunt for Red October, I was among those who never doubted for a moment that thermonuclear war would somehow be averted. Thus reassured, I could settle back and enjoy a great story well-told...and have done so again on numerous occasions with equal pleasure.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Yarn...,
This review is from: The Hunt for Red October (Widescreen) (DVD)
The Hunt For Red October
1990 Film Version
One of the things I learned about screenplay writing is that adapting a book, particularly a popular novel, is not always an easy task. Syd Field's book, Screenplay, devotes an entire chapter to the subject of adaptation. Field points out, and I am paraphrasing here, that novels and screenplays are two different forms of writing. Each has its own rules and each one differs vastly in purpose. A novel, for instance, is meant to be read by a large audience and each reader can read it at his or her own pace. Screenplays, on the other hand, are the blueprints for the making of movies. Both tell a story, and if a novel is being adapted into a screenplay, often the same story.
I offer this caveat because many Tom Clancy fans often feel that movie versions of their favorite novels often disappoint them. Scenes and characters - even entire subplots and/or adversaries' motivations - often vanish or are altered beyond recognition.
This is true even in John McTiernan's "The Hunt for Red October," the first of the four films adapted from Clancy's Jack Ryan novels.
Starring Sean Connery as Soviet Captain First Rank Marko Ramius, Alec Baldwin as CIA analyst John Patrick (Jack) Ryan, and James Earl Jones as CIA Deputy Director (Intelligence), McTiernan's film catches the spirit, rather than the letter, of Clancy's first best-selling novel.
Had screenwriters Larry Ferguson and Donald Stewart even attempted to be as slavishly faithful to Clancy's novel, it is unlikely that producer Mace Neufeld would have been able to get Paramount Pictures to undertake such a massive production. To depict the hunt for a defecting Typhoon-class submarine would have required expensive miniature effects sequences, for what makes Clancy's novel so exciting is the ensuing face-off between most of the Soviet Navy and a large fraction of the U.S. Navy. Could it have been done? Perhaps...but it would have cost almost as much as Titanic did (over $200 million).
Also not included in the screenplay were passing references to Patriot Games, which in the chronology of the books is a prequel to Hunt, as well as a secondary storyline (what TV writers would call a B story) involving an American spy working for the Soviets. Clancy readers know that this storyline will be developed in two other novels. However, in order to make this movie move smoothly, many scenes and characters were simply not included.
In spite of these compromises - or perhaps because of them - McTiernan manages to tell a gripping action adventure piece that is also cerebral. Connery's Ramius (despite his distinctive Scots burr) is strikingly similar to the one in the novel. Baldwin's Jack Ryan also comes close to his literary alter-ego, and one wonders how the franchise would have fared had he not been replaced by Harrison Ford for two films and Ben Affleck in the latest Clancy-based movie, 2002's The Sum of All Fears. Even the sea chase - now pared down to one Alfa-class submarine and a Bear Foxtrot anti-sub warfare patrol plane for the Soviets, and one Los Angeles-class nuclear attack sub and one Perry-class frigate onscreen - makes this movie worth watching.
Until recently, the first three Jack Ryan movies had been given the barebones DVD treatment by Paramount Home Video. Even these are an improvement over the VHS tape versions. Restored to its original wide-screen version and its soundtrack enhanced with Dolby digital tracks in English and French, The Hunt for Red October's original DVD version had only the theatrical trailer as an extra feature. The current 2003 re-release is supposedly better, with more extra features and director's commentaries.
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The Hunt for Red October (Special Collector's Edition) by John McTiernan (DVD - 2003)
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