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Phantom
BLU-RAY disk
Aug 6, 2013 By: Jason Adams
Phantom order download
Director:
Todd Robinson

Actors:
Ed Harris
David Duchovny
William Fichtner

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
At the height of the Cold War, a disgraced commander goes out for one last routine mission on an old diesel submarine. Things get complicated, however, when a shady KGB operative tags along with secret intentions.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

Ed Harris, David Duchovny, William Fichtner, Lance Henriksen, Sean Patrick Flannery, Jonathan Schaech with a rockin' porno mustache… That's one hell of a solid cast for what amounts to essentially a crappy DTV movie. The most interesting aspect of this Cold War submarine thriller is how the hell they got all these actors involved in the first place.

PHANTOM tells a somewhat interesting "true" story (more on that later) involving a close-call incident that almost started nuclear war between the Soviets and the Americans in the 1960s. What's unique is that the film is told from the point of view of the Russians AND none of the actors attempt a terrible "Harrison Ford in K-19" accent! Unfortunately, on all other levels, PHANTOM is a pale echo of every other better submarine movie, from CRIMSON TIDE to THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. The script is consistently unsurprising and missing any qualities that make it worthy of the talent involved.

And for a movie about rogue Soviet spies hijacking a nuclear sub to start World War III, PHANTOM sure is boring. It's simple in plot and execution and lacking in excitement. There's just not much to it as a film, to the point where it really feels like a TV movie. (The fact that it got even a limited theatrical release is pretty shocking.) The actors turn in decent performances given the material, but this will always be a forgettable part of their resume at best and an embarrassing inclusion at worst.

As for the "true story" aspect, even that's a lie! The end credits essentially say, "In 1968 a submarine went missing for a few hours and nobody knows what happened during that time. This is our guess at what MIGHT have happened." So there really is no reason for this movie to exist.

THE EXTRAS

Commentary by writer/director Todd Robinson and star Ed Harris: Not sure why Harris is on here. He doesn't seem that interested in the film and spends most of his time mumbling softly. Robinson carries the majority of the track with some background behind the film and the difficulties of shooting on a real submarine.

Facing the Apocalypse: (12:59): Cast and crew discuss the difficult production in this Making Of featurette.

The Real Phantom (6:02): Robinson and a historian talk about the real-life (and classified) story on which the movie is sort of based.

Jeff Rona: Scoring Phantom (3:00): The film's Jeff Rona talks about the score and how he incorporated some real submarine sounds.

A Digital Copy, Music Video and Previews are also included.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS

I'd rather watch DOWN PERISCOPE.

Extra Tidbit: Duchovny and Henriksen previously appeared together in an "X-Files" and "Millennium" crossover episode.

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