Crimson Tide (1995)
Where would we all be without the good US of A to save the world at the drop of a hat huh. This time its the proud US Navy that gets to show us their stuff and stop those pesky Russians once again, darn pesky Russians.
A Bruckheimer/Simpson production and boy can you tell, a veritable feast for the eyes with the standard graphic novel-like adaptation imagery that looks glossy, sharp and always exciting (with the assistance of some guy called Michael Bay). All together these three guys created some memorable action flicks that really are the true meaning of blockbuster.
'Crimson Tide' is no exception, well maybe one small exception, and that's the fact this film is probably the most sensible, realistic action flick they've created. Now if you will, this is my little videogame analogy of these flicks. Most of the Bruckheimer/Simpson flicks are what I would call 'arcade' type action flicks, they're big, loud, flashy and give plenty of bang for your buck.
'Crimson Tide' is more of a 'simulator' action flick in the simple fact its more realistic with deeper tension. This of course would be down to the brilliant direction of Ba...errr Scott who knows his way around a good looking military action flick.
So in short the visuals here are crisp, smoky and sweat inducing in nice shades of green, blue and red. Life aboard a sub has been created seriously well and you really get that tight feeling as the camera peers down steel tubes and stairwells. Despite the fact almost the entire film takes place in the sub you never once lose interest as we go from action stations against Russian subs to one mutiny after another as Washington faces off against Hackman.
This of course leads me to the cast which is really superb here. Even the small fry roles played by small fry character actors are decent. The big guns naturally fire on all cylinders, Hackman is pretty intimidating as the sub Captain whilst Washington easily gains your support as the 'good guy' of sorts. Supporting roles are also solid with Gandolfini in his usual slightly nasty persona, the guy who likes to make his presence known, and Mortensen as the guy torn between his captain and friend.
Nice early build up into the film as we gather the crew and see what each are like. There isn't too much in special effects either as most of the action is simply viewing the crew and sub innards as each suspenseful situation looms, kicks off and passes. Brave move that pays off as you would expect lots of fancy CGI sequences. Finally a stirring moving bold musical score to really bring home the seriousness and heroism of the story...less you forget this is an American military thriller damn it!!
So end of the day yes you know how it will all end, pretty obvious of course. You know which man will stand tall and victorious by the end credits. You know there will be a change of character by the loser and you know there's bound to be a scene where men get trapped in the bowels of the sub and must be sacrificed to save the rest of the crew. Many typical scenes where the crew must decide who is in charge and if they're doing it the right way, the Navy way, the American way...cue rousing musical score and close ups of sweaty stern jawed faces.
I like to think of this as Scott's grown up follow up to 'Top Gun' (had to mention it). All the hallmarks of a slick military action flick but much more sensible without 80's pop music and male posing. I saw this opening night at the cinema (ye olde Warner Village cinema's) back when I was a young teen and liked it, I still like it now, what more can I say!?.