Review Date: July 22, 2002
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Christopher Kyle
Producers: Kathryn Bigelow
Harrison Ford as Alexi Vostrikov
Liam Neeson as Mikhail Polenin
Peter Sarsgaard as Vadim Radtchenko
Basically, it's about teamwork, it's about loyalty, it's about heroes, patriotism and ultimately, one's ability to be the best that they can be under the most dire of circumstances (be all that you can be, kids!). I also loved (and I mean "loved") the relationship between Neeson and Ford's characters in this movie. The respect, the disrespect and ultimately...the way by which each man was able to connect and disconnect with the other. It was extremely well crafted and written, and both men did their best to bring out the zing in that rapport. It wasn't as intense or combative as the one in CRIMSON TIDE between Washington and Hackman, but on another level, it was just as good. Of course, I can't completely review a film like this without talking about the "accents" of its actors. Yes, every single character which we encounter in this film is basically a Russian speaking English...so get over it! I have absolutely no problem watching flicks like this (since this is all "make believe" after all-and oh yeah, me no understand Russian), but the actors should at least be believable and consistent with their accents, and Ford was "decent", although nothing particularly standout (his accent seemed to come and go at times as well).
I did think that he did a formidable job portraying this very (and I stress the word "very") stoic, hardheaded and conflicted patriot though, and Neeson was also up to the task as his counterpart. In the end, this film is one of the greater all-around flicks of the year with action, mucho tension, some head-thinking stuff for all head-thinkers, solid acting all around, twists (a turn or two) and a complementary directing style to complete the ball of entertainment (I loved that one shot of the sub coming out of the water and the camera giving us the goods through the scope...nice!). I think this is the type of film which will surely appeal to anyone who enjoyed flicks like 13 DAYS and THE SUM OF ALL FEARS. It doesn't dumb shit down for mass audiences, it doesn't bore you with too many overly elaborate details...but it finds just the right balance of message, reality, action, emotion and resolution...to make for one of the more all-around entertaining movies of the summer. Oh yeah, and if you want to start thinking seriously about the events depicted in the picture (first off, go to your local library and get all of the exact facts, since some of this flick is embellished for 'tainment purposes), be doubly creeped out to see how close we got to yet another war between nations. Das some fucked up shit, folks.