March 1, 1990

The Hunt for Red October

huntThree of my all-time favorite action films are from director John McTiernan. Predator is arguably Arnold Schwarzenegger's best movie* (without the word "Terminator" in the title). Die Hard is one of the best action movies ever. The Hunt For Red October is the best of the three: A world-class Cold War action-thriller. Exciting, clever, brainy while not complicated, great cast, faithful to the novel, technically accomplished, Red October has it all.
J.J. Abrams didn't invent deliberate lens flare!
I have seen Red October way too many times, but I was flipping through the cable channels the other day when Red October appeared, about an hour into the action. I watched for maybe 5 minutes, then said "Damnit, now I have to start from the beginning." I pulled out my laserdisc, and started from the top. My wife saw me doing this and said "well, if you're gonna start it from the beginning, I gotta see it too."
The next time I saw Red October on cable, I played the "Spot The Edited For Length Splices" Game. Poor Jeffrey Jones. Half his monologue got cut out!

"...lurking at the bottom of the
ocean like an addled schoolboy."
  The movie is endlessly quotable, but my favorite is Captain Tupolev (Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd) as Captain Ramius's protege/rival Soviet sub captain. When I see him in Good Will Hunting or Pirates of the Caribbean, I just imagine him barking orders through his cigarette "accelerate to flank!" grumbling "I'll shake him loose". (March 1, 1990, Revere multiplex, with my Mom, I think.)