3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2013
Having read a few reviews saying that the quality of the transfer for the film wasn't good I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. It's not going to blow anyone away but it still looks very good. Considering that much of the film is set inside submarines it could have turned into just a dark blur but it isn't.
I have only seen this film on video before so can't speak as to whether you should upgrade from DVD to Blu Ray but it is a very nice looking film. If anything is an issue it's that it can seem rather dull outside of the submarines. Something I was quite surprised by.
As for the film itself, when the film was in the stages of getting made, many studios didn't want to touch it because they thought it was too complicated. It isn't really, there is a very good story here, all you have to do is pay attention.
Sean Connery I think can sometimes just end up playing himself in many films, what I mean by that is he doesn't seem to be trying to do anything different with a lot of his performances. I personally love Sean Connery though and have to say that in this there is something slightly different about him. He plays his character as someone a lot colder than we are used to seeing, somewhat distant from things at times, somebody who you can see has a million things going on in his head that he keeps beneath the surface.
The rest of the cast all play their parts well, obviously Alec Baldwin has the biggest part and he is very often used to help explain things to the audience. However I don't see his character of Jack Ryan as being integral to the story, there is nothing about him personally that really makes him stand out, or appear as if he could have a whole franchise of films starring him. The other Jack Ryan films starring Harrison Ford are more focused on him and his actions. He is just a part of what is happening in this film.
The film is now 23 years old and despite the frequent use of special effects there isn't that obvious aged feel to them. There isn't quite the sense of claustrophobia that you get in many films set on submarines because the film has a much larger scope and doesn't spend the whole time under water. This helps to tell the much larger story although does mean we get to spend a bit less time than we would probably like on board the Red October.
Overall, a very good tense cold war drama with possibly one of Sean Connery's best performances and a strong supporting cast. As a high definition movie you probably won't be blown away but still very decent presentation.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2011
Blu Ray all zone (not confirmed)
Ratio of the feature film:
Languages of the feature film:
- Dolby True HD 5.1: English
- Dolby 5.1: French, Italian, German, Castilian Spanish
- Dolby 2.0 Surround: Commentary by the director John McTiernan
Subtitles for the feature film and the making of:
- French, German, Italian, Castilian Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and English for the hard of hearings.
This film on Blu Ray is really amazing, a good picture with an outstanding soundtrack. The soundtrack is perfect with a fantastic music. The picture has a natural noise quite visible during the dark shots but not too annoying.
Even if the pictures is not 100% perfect, it gives us much more details about the models submarine for instance the missiles hatches visible on the hull of the Typhoon, the grid pattern on the outer bow doors of the caterpillar. We can also count the missiles silos when Ryan is about to go after the cook and show us how long the submarine really is, it makes the scene looking truly impressive!
High Definition picture means details we are not supposed to see !!
- We can clearly see the whole deck and the conn tower of the Red October is a giant model (where Sean Connery and Sam Neill stand at the beginning of the film) as we can see the edges of the model barely submerged.
- Technical mistake about this model, there is no wake as there are no propellers either which in fact are visible on a real typhoon-class submarine (when afloat).
- The wires holding the 3 models submarines are visible on nearly every "underwater" shot. For instance, when the first torpedo is shot at the Red October, we can clearly see several wires holding the Red October when she is evading the attack.
- The CGI effects are quite obtrusive but it is 1989 CGI, in fact we can say they are good considering what we were capable of doing in the 80s.
Overall, it is a true pleasure to see this film on Blu Ray with its beautiful picture. Although we see the wires holding the sub, the underwater sequences still look superb thanks to the flawless motion and lighting of the 3 submarines.
- Making of "Beneath the surface" -> Dolby 2.0, 29 min, SD, subtitled.
- Theatrical Trailer -> Dolby 5.1, 1.5 min, HD, no subtitle.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2012
Owned this on VHS (twice, one pan+scan, one widescreen) then dvd.
Now we have the Blu Ray, it's a clean and very 'movie-like' image, has great sound and is a major improvement in resolution, all of the underwater sequences are now much clearer than on any previous format, I spotted many details that I've never noticed before.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I have always considered 'The Hunt for Red October' to be one of my very favourite films, definitely top three, and my choice of film if I was allowed just one prior to be stuck on a desert island!
I first saw the film on it's initial cinema release, I was in my mid-teens and went with my dad. I then bought the novel, and still read it once every couple of years now. I bought the film on VHS, almost wearing it out before updating to DVD.
The lack of difference in picture quality between VHS and DVD always disappointed me (although the sound was noticeably better on DVD); particularly so with the underwater scenes, you could hardly see anything!
This has very much changed with the Blu Ray release.
The picture and sound quality are a huge improvement, and the level of detail on the underwater scenes now make them look almost like they have been re-filmed!
The sound is superb, particularly the sound of the sonar and the explosions!
I am still slightly suspicious of just how much a Blu Ray can improve a film of over twenty or so years old, but then again I suppose a lot depends on the source material made available for the transfer.
This is most definitely a good one, and I would say that if you consider yourself a fan of this film ie you watch it with some degree of regularity, you should upgrade to Blu Ray despite already owning it on DVD; you won't regret it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2014
Compared to the later adventures of the ever-resourceful CIA analyst Jack Ryan (the 2014 eponymous reboot notwithstanding) this is a dull affair, enlivened only sporadically by the presence of Sean Connery as disaffected Russian (yes Russian) nuclear submarine commander - Captain Ramius, intent on defecting to the West and delivering his state of the art sub to an accommodating US navy. Alec Baldwin plays Ryan pretty straight, but in hindsight his boyishly eager mannerisms and relentlessly straight-laced demeanour is no match for later incarnation Harrison Ford’s easy charisma.
Supporting players include Sam Neill as a Russian officer and Captain Ramius’ right-hand man, Scott Glen as the American sub captain, Stellan Skarsgard as another Russian officer, and Tim Curry (yes Tim Curry) as the Russian sub’s medical officer. Joss Ackland and James Earl Jones are also involved and complete the core of a heavyweight cast. Despite the presence of all these acting luminaries however, the movie struggles to stay afloat, and often seems remarkably static considering the action credentials of Tom Clancy’s source novel. A definite triumph of style over substance, it nonetheless ends up as something of a disappointment, eternally promising much, but ultimately delivering little.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a cold war thriller set at a time when the Soviet Union was regarded as the west's main enemy. Sean Connery plays Captain Rameus in charge of the latest Russian submarine undergoing its first sea trials. Rameus is a renegade, but his 2nd in command, Captain Borodin (Sam Neill), is sympathetic to Rameus' intentions. What we, the Russians and Americans do not know is whether Rameus is mad, intends to attack the U.S. with a first-strike of nuclear missiles, or intends to defect taking the prize submarine with him. Clearly therefore both sides are out to sink the submarine and all who sail in her. A C.I.A. operative Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) knows Rameus of old and thinks he knows his intentions so gets himself aboard another vessel shadowing Rameus. By today's standards of film making, with gratuitous and often quite meaningless violence constantly on screen, this movie is a little tame I guess but there was enough of interest going on to keep me entertained for just over two hours. But then I come from a simpler time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2014
This is one of my favourite movies ever... I pretty much know the script and can watch it over and over. I am recovering from surgery, so was looking forward to watching this a few times. However, the copy I received was very poor. It keeps changing speed - going from normal to ff without being commanded. Also, in the Russian language parts of the movie, the qualuty of the subtitles is very poor, and in one place, they refer to a previous piece of dialogue... not that which is being shown! I would normally return something like this, but as I only paid about £5.50, it is more trouble than it is worth to return it. Very disappointed with this copy. I will have to buy another copy on the high street :-(
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Director John McTiernan has had a checkered past as a movie maker. He has made some of the best movies to come out of Hollywood in recent years (`Die Hard' and `The Thomas Crown Affair') and yet he is also the one responsible for some of the worst big budget productions (`The 13th Warrior,' `Nomads' and `The Last Action Hero'). Thankfully for fans of the Tom Clancy novel on which `The Hunt for Red October' is based, this movie falls into the first category. And equally lucky for fans of the novel and film is the fact that Paramount Pictures has seen fit to replace the previous movie-only bare bones DVD release with a special collectors edition.
In 1990 Paramount Pictures released the Sean Connery/Alec Baldwin starring adaptation of the novel. The movie was a triumphant success, even given its longer than usual running time and its lack of real action (most of the actual action occurs in the final moments of the film). What held the movie together, and kept the viewers rapt attention, was the simply incredible acting and presence of Sean Connery as Soviet sub captain Marko Ramius and the building suspense and tension that pervades the well structured plot.
The plot centers on the plan by Ramius to, with the help of some fellow crewmembers, to defect to the United States, taking with him the newest sub in the Russian fleet - the Red October (named after the October revolution. The Red October is capable of running silent with a new propulsion system that makes it almost invisible to sonar. The Russians launch a mission to destroy the submarine and even tell the Americans that Ramius is a rogue in an attempt to elicit their help in sinking the ship.
The one American who doesn't believe the Russian story is CIA analyst Jack Ryan (played in this movie by Alec Baldwin). Having met Ramius previously and studied him he suspects the true intention of the Soviet captain. He must convince his bosses and eventually an American sub captain (played wonderfully by Scott Glenn) to trust him and give Ramius a chance.
Taut and at times nerve wrenching (the blind timed navigating through the underwater trenches), the `Hunt for Red October' is simply one of the best techno-thrillers to come out of Hollywood in the past two decades. Sticking fairly close to the Clancy novel, McTiernan keeps building the pressure and ratcheting up of the stakes until an explosive final confrontation off the Labrador coast.
For the collectors edition Paramount has provided us with not only a commentary by McTiernan but also a nice "making of.." documentary. I have always been disappointed with McTiernan commentaries (`The Thomas Crown Affair' is a case in point) and again here with `The Hunt for Red October' there is a lot of dead air with not much being said. Where this DVD does score top marks is in the documentary. We are provided with some fairly in-depth insight into what went into the making of the picture.
Featuring all the leading actors in the movie and the production team responsible the documentary covers every angle and even reveals how close they came to not signing Connery when the Scottish actor was faxed the entire script sans the opening scroll.
A great movie and this well-made documentary make this DVD a must buy - Recommended.
Director John McTiernan's 1990 (based on Tom Clancy's novel) film fits very much into the 'good old-fashioned thriller' category - its rather fanciful plot surrounding Sean Connery's Soviet nuclear submarine captain, Marko Ramius, and his possible defection to the West becoming largely immaterial as the film's increasingly claustrophobic and gripping sense of tension takes hold, supported by a number of impressive acting turns. I was also a little surprised to see that the film 'only' incurred a budget of $30m, since (in 1990 pre-CGI days) the film makes some spectacular use of US warships and submarines (as well as using a large-scale mock-up of the titular typhoon-class submarine).
The film's central premise of a rogue military man (apparently) 'gone AWOL from his senses' and potentially sparking nuclear war, actually called to my mind Kubrick's classic Dr Strangelove and whilst McTiernan's film is not in the same league as Kubrick's, the game of bluff and double-bluff being played here as Ramius' true motives remain unclear (requiring him to dodge both US and Soviet 'authorities') does produce much nail-biting and second-guessing. As ever, Connery is quietly impressive as the relaxed, calculating figure of authority (even if he, and the rest of the cast, have to switch, inexplicably, between subtitled Russian and English), as is his sidekick, Sam Neill's Captain Borodin. On the US side, for me, acting honours go to Scott Glenn's calmly authoritative Commander Mancuso, Alec Baldwin is solid as CIA Agent Dr Jack Ryan who suspects Ramius' 'true motives' and there are nice cameos from the likes of James Earl Jones, Joss Ackland and Peter Firth. The reflective scene between Ramius and Borodin as they speculate on their futures is a highlight, transcending much of the clichéd dialogue elsewhere (although there are some nice comic moments, 'Central Intelligence Agency - now there's a contradiction in terms!'). And, even if the film's conclusion is a little too 'Hollywood-formulaic' for me, overall it provides enough moments of tension and impressive acting to just about warrant a four star rating.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2014
The fact that it had 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, 7.6 on IMDb, 4 1/2 stars on here and had a great cast made me think The Hunt for Red October would be good. I suppose it was. It was a well-made film. But there were problems. Sean Connery's russian with a scottish accent. While he's a great actor he shouldn't be playing a Russian. But the main problem is it's just unexciting, and rather boring. Compared to the recent prequel Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, it couldn't be more different. It was all set on a submarine, and very little seemed to happen for a lot of it.