I watched this one with the wife. This was the very first “Jack Ryan” film. I think this was also the first movie based on one of his books.
First a piece of trivia – that I would love to know if it is still true – No movie about a submarine has ever lost money…
This movie is a time warp in more than one way. First, it’s set during the cold war – so it was a period piece even in 1990. Now it seems even older. Second, everyone in it looks a hell of a lot younger in it – Sorry Alec – you’ve put some hard mile on in the last 16 years.
A friend recently told me that the director hated Alec Baldwin so much that they were going to fire him, but because the movie was so far along it was too expensive to redo. At the time, I don’t think I really noticed. Now, knowing that Baldwin is supposed to be the main character and not Connery – I can see why they were so mad. Here they are launching a new franchise – and the lead character is largely a foil to keep the story moving along. They fixed it with Harrison Ford in the next films.
Apart from the real world issues, something else about this movie really strikes me watching it now. The movie comes across as incredibly novel like. They have large pockets of characters spread out. They all slowly but surely converge at the end, but the narrative structure just doesn’t feel like the linear good guy , exposition, move forward one square, confront bad guy. This can apparently confuse people – from imdb
To help the audience quickly grasp which sub’s interior they were seeing as the movie jumped from scene to scene and sub to sub, the filmmakers created a subtle lighting scheme: red for Dallas, blue for Red October, and green for the other Russian sub.
I suppose they just felt like all subs look alike – when you are inside one.
In the end, the movie is still a good film, even if it isn’t as great as I remember. I still give props for making Connery as a Russian the hero. (Over coming a stereotype that still remains – in Thank You For Smoking they refer to all bad guys as RAVs- Russian, Arabs, and villans – so I guess it still hangs around).
Bottom Line: It is a fun sub thriller with Connery doing his best cross between Kirk and Connery. Plus its a throw back to a time when the bad guys could be good guys too!