Time: 135 Minutes
Age Rating: PG – Violence
Sean Connery as Captain 1st rank Marko Ramius
Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan
Joss Ackland as Andrei Lysenko
Tim Curry as Dr. Yevgeni Petrov
Peter Firth as 1st Lieutenant Ivan Putin
Scott Glenn as Commander Bart Mancuso
James Earl Jones as Vice Admiral James Greer
Sam Neill as Captain 2nd rank Vasily Borodin
Stellan Skarsgård as Captain 2nd rank Viktor Tupolev
Director: John McTiernan
CIA analyst Jack Ryan thinks Soviet nuclear submarine commander Captain Marko Ramius is planning to defect but only has a few hours to find him and the submarine.
John McTiernan’s The Hunt for Red October is an adaptation of the Tom Clancy book of the same name. It would also be the first appearance of Clancy’s character Jack Ryan on screen, who would be portrayed in future movies and shows by multiple other different actors including Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. It’s not a great action movie, but it is nonetheless pretty good.
The Hunt for Red October is a pretty solid cold war thriller about Jack Ryan being brought in to deal with a tense situation when Sean Connery’s captain steals a Soviet submarine. With it being mostly set in submarines, the movie is deliberately paced and does drag a bit, especially for the first hour. This does somewhat come as a consequence at the grounded and realistic approach to the story, but for the most part that works to the film’s benefit, and helped with the immersion. It felt a little overlong, especially at 2 hours and 15 minutes in length. Still, I was invested with the plot throughout, and they do well at ramping up the tension over the course of the film.
The acting and character development are pretty strong overall. Sean Connery plays the lead role incredibly well and brings such gravitas, even if his accent is a little all over the place at times. Alec Baldwin is the co-lead playing Jack Ryan. This is definitely early years Ryan with him being a CIA analyst (unlike the action hero in most of his other portrayals), and Baldwin plays this convincingly. There’s also a lot of good supporting performances from Sam Neill, Scott Glenn, James Earl Jones, Tim Curry, and Stellan Skarsgard.
As expected with other action movies under his belt like Predator and Die Hard, John McTiernan helms this very well. It could’ve easily just been a rather standard submarine action movie, but he directs it in a creative way. Its visually strong, well shot with some good lighting, the sound design and sound effects are ominous, and it is edited to pretty much perfection.
The Hunt for Red October is not one of John McTiernan’s best and it is on the slower side. However, it is an overall well directed and tense submarine thriller with great performances, led by Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin. Worth at least one watch.