Atmospheric and tense submarine movie where sir Sean Connery steals the show as the Red October's captain. It's based on a Tom Clancy novel from the Jack Ryan saga. It also featured Alec Baldwin as the mentioned Jack Ryan, a role which later would be adopted by Harrison Ford in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.

The soundtrack is from Basil Poledouris, who also did Conan the Barbarian, and cinematography from Jan de Bont, whose previous work includes Die Hard and then would go on to make Speed.

The Hunt For Red October - Theatrical Release: 1989 - DVD Release: 1998 - Directed by John McTiernan.

Running Time: 135 minutes. Rated PG by the hideous organization known as the MPAA.

    Technical Features:

  • English 5.1
  • English 2.0 Dolby Surround
  • French 2.0 Dolby Surround
  • Region 1
  • Dual layer

For one of the greatest action movies ever (intelligent, but still amazingly entertaining) this is a poor DVD. The only real feature is the theatrical trailer (I would've loved some audio commentary from McTiernan or Sean Connery, or maybe an audio track with just Basil Poledouris' incredible score). It's widescreen, but not anamorphic. Why do companies release DVDs that aren't anamorphic??? Overall, it doesn't cost much, but it's not really worth buying. If you do buy it, don't get it for anything but the movie. Hopefully Paramount will get it together over there and release a disc that does this movie justice.

The Hunt for Red October is a book, later turned into a movie, written by Tom Clancy. It is set in the Jack Ryan series and is the first one he, Tom Clancy, wrote, though not the first in the series chronologically. It is set between Patriot Games and Cardinal in the Kremlin.

The Hunt for Red October is about a Soviet sub captain, Marko Ramius, who decides to steal the prototype of the Soviet's newest type of sub, the Krazny Oktyabr or Red October, and come on over to America with it. The Red October is special because it is equipped with a magnetohydrodynamic propulsion drive, nicknamed a caterpillar drive, which would allow it to run silently. Jack Ryan figures this out and is sent out to sea to help bring in the sub, however the Soviets know what Ramius is trying to do and are trying to stop him. Jack Ryan gets aboard the sub and they almost have it home when another Soviet Sub attacks. The Red October destroys the other sub and it is brought back to America for study.

A very good book by all acounts, somewhat shorter than his others but that seems normal because it was his first.

The Game Boy game of The Hunt for Red October by Hi-Tech Expressions is possibly one of the finest link games produced for the little handheld. In fact, I loved it so much I bought two copies (I had two Game Boys anyway).

The single player mode sees you, as Captain Ramius, making your way through eight levels of undersea action, battling Alfa class attack subs, SU-27s, Kirov destroyers, helicopters and hydrofoils in your attempts to reach the safety of the Gulf of Mexico (the route displayed onscreen sees you nearly reach the Bahamas but, so they could fit in an eighth level, suddenly takes a huge jaunt DIRECTLY AWAY from North America).

Despite the sidescrolling simplicity of the graphics, the game was still a surprisingly detailed recreation of of underwater submarine combat. The Red October would pitch up and down when surfacing and diving, which not only required care to negotiate tricky areas but useful in aiming torpedos. The Red October could activate the caterpillar drive to become invisible, but this could be negated if a surface vessel dropped a sonar buoy. At least, provided the Red October didn't shoot it. This made two player battles quite tactical as the fleet player would have to use a helicopter to fly over the Red October and drop the buoy, then quickly switch to an Alfa sub and close in to finish the job.

Each level ended with a ludicrous boss battle which destroyed the realism of the levels, as the Red October had to negotiate huge underwater installations reminiscent of the final room from Looping, complete with bouncing balls.

Two player mode truly saw the game come into its own. Player one was still the all-powerful Red October, but Player two was the Russian Convoy Commander. The Commander used a cursor to scroll around the levels and click on the static vehicles to take control of them and attempt to locate and destroy the Red October. Each vehicle had a unique set of armaments and controls - the jets were fast but hard to control, the choppers were easier but lacked the guided missiles and could be shot down more easily, and destroyers were extremely powerful but slow and limited by the large rocks which divided the surface of each level.

This might seem slightly unbalanced but in fact the game was perfectly fair... each of the fleet's vehicles was weak but they had strength in numbers, while the Red October was extremely powerful and had access to power-ups. My first link-up game saw me as the Red October NEARLY beat my friend's fleet and I was about a screen length away from the end of level 8.

Controls for Red October: A fires torpedos, B fires homing torpedos, Select activates caterpillar drive.

Controls for Fleet: A fires rockets/depth charges/torpedos, B fires homing torpedos/depth charges, Select drops sonar buoy. A + Select deselects current vehicle and returns to cursor mode (aircraft must be landed on an aircraft carrier, oil rig helipad or landing platform first or they'll explode!). In cursor mode, positioning the cursor over a vehicle and pressing A activates that vehicle.

I expect this will be quite a hard game to get a hold of, but if you've got a hankering for a decent Game Boy Pocket or Color game this is far superior to most of the Mary-Kate and Ashley crap you can get now anyway. Also recommended are Radar Mission and Power Mission for more naval link-up fun.

In November of 1984,
just before Gorbachev came to power,
a Typhoon-class Soviet sub surfaced
just south of the Grand Banks.

It then sank in deep water,
apparently suffering a radiation problem.
Unconfirmed reports indicated
some of the crew were rescued.

But according to repeated statements
by both Soviet and American governments,

nothing of what you are about to see...


The Hunt for Red October (1989) Special Collector's Edition DVD (2003), directed by John McTiernan
Part of the Jack Ryan Special Edition DVD Collection.

Running Time: 135 minutes.

Rated PG by Jackbeard and his Merry Men, because Some Material May Not Be Suitable for Children.

Special Features:

This disc is definitely an improvement over the 1998 release, though there's still no mention of anamorphic widescreen it has come to my attention that 16:9 is anamorphic widescreen. There is also no disc art, apart from the various logos and a PG-13 (!) rating box. The commentary is fairly decent. My only real gripe is the unskippable studio logo/disclaimer at the start, but that's fortunately not too long.

Overall, I give the disc 6.5 out of 10 for the features, and 8.9 for the film. A good buy, even if you wish the MPAA would go blow themselves out a torpedo tube.

All info is from the film, case, or inserts unless otherwise noted.

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