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Crimson Tide (Unrated)
DVD disk
05.30.2006 By: Jason Coleman
Crimson Tide (Unrated) order
Director:
Tony Scott

Actors:
Gene Hackman
Denzel Washington
Viggo Mortensen

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When the Commander of a naval submarine and his Executive Officer clash over the validity of orders saying to launch a missile, things get real ugly. A tense tale that asks the question who’s right, who’s wrong and in the end, who should really be in command?
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
In the careers of popcorn producers Jerry Bruckheimer and the late Don Simpson, there is a history of so many fluff films; movies that you forget about the minute you exit the theatre. CRIMSON TIDE is one of their few films with substance, a unique mix of both art and commerce that the two rarely ever achieved with their other films. (With the exception of the 1996 action film THE ROCK!) The bar is set very high with this one and fortunately, everyone rises to the challenge. The script manages to take what could have been a talky snooze fest and turns it into a highly intelligent and tense drama. (Plus give props to Quentin Tarantino for coming in and adding all that talk about Stallions and Star Trek - you the man!) Director Tony Scott mixes his trademark visual style with the brilliant cinematography by Dariusz Wolski and the result is a match made in heaven – the film looks great.

Even the casting choices here are dead on, starting with powerhouses Hackman and Washington. I sense that Hackman, who is always magnetic, not to mention intense, raised the stakes and the result is a far better performance out of the sometimes lazy Washington. (Don’t believe me, see VIRTUOSITY and OUT OF TIME!) The rest of the cast, a lot of whom are now leading men and stars in their own right (go James Gandolfini and Viggo Mortensen!), are pitch perfect, not creating the standard caricature, but real guys who aren’t sure where their loyalty lies. CRIMSON TIDE is a film that the uber-powerful producing team should be proud of; it takes all the conventions of an adventure picture and adds a healthy dose of class. It’s a good mix of everything, a perfect swell of a compelling story, dead on direction, a memorable music score, and acting that’s top notch – a tide that can wash over me any day.
THE EXTRAS
This Unrated Extended Cut seems very similar to what I remember seeing before (what were you hoping for, some nudity?!), with a few extra curses and fists thrown in. But the real news is, again, no damn commentary track! Director Tony Scott should take after his brother Ridley and be a little bit more vocal. (Does this guy have a strong aversion to feature length commentary tracks or what?)

Deleted Scenes: This is just available individually, not as a Play All, but with only three scenes that last under three minutes, who needs it!

Movie Trivia On Bus (0:30): Definitely more of Quentin’s contribution, with Mortensen and Gandolfini trading movie trivia questions. But it’s so damn short that it’s hard to tell whether it was bad or not. (Guess if it’s that short, it must be bad!)

Sara Interviews Radchenko (1:32): A scene completely unneeded and the acting and accent on the guy playing Radchenko ain’t great either! (But I did love him in BASIC INSTINCT – “Hey shooter. Might drive you to drink!”)

Awaiting The Naval Hearing (1:13): A scene that is supposed to add tension, but instead lies down and dies! (Good call excising this one – cut the fat!)

All Access: On The Set Of Crimson Tide (10:18): This one could have been much more revealing in terms of behind the scenes stuff, instead mixes of a few revealing snippets with a lot of jokes and goofing off. Though the most interesting and revealing moment is a reading on set of the big confrontation between Hackman and Washington. Hackman knows every line and nuance down to a tee, while Washington fumbles with his side of the dialogue – very interesting.

The Making Of Crimson Tide (19:56): A very strange making of indeed, as this was done before the death of Producer Don Simpson, who appears throughout this featurette. It’s strange to see the dynamic between him and Bruckheimer, as Simpson seems to be the more talkative of the two. Again, this looks like a bit more like a promo reel, then a full out making-of, but it’s still good. Funniest moment - when Bruckheimer calls the popcorn movies that he and Simpson make “process movies” – I guess that’s one way of describing it!

There is also a Sneak Peeks section featuring Trailers for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, REMEMBER THE TITANS: DIRECTOR’S CUT, GLORY ROAD, and EIGHT BELOW.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This is a true feather in the cap of all involved, from producing partners Simpson and Bruckheimer, to Director Scott, to Hackman and Washington, CRIMSON TIDE is a riveting and tense picture, a successful matching of both style and substance, whether it’s Unrated and Extended or not. As far as the extras go, will someone please give Director Tony Scott a kick in the ass (maybe Ridley could do it!) and get him to record some damn commentary tracks already? Regardless, there could have been more meat to the extras here, but what the bonus stuff doesn’t have, the film makes up for in spades. Get your galoshes on, cause this tide is definitely high.
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