Rating: R, Time: 2hr 1min, Director: Donovan Marsh, Cast on IMDb
What did you think of the woman president?
It's obvious that during the original casting of the movie, the director thought that Hillary Clinton would have won going into the campaign. You could say it is the liberal bias in Hollywood, but I think that likely was the best case guess at the time based on common knowledge. Hollywood lives in California, so the bias towards optimism of left leaning candidates is understandable. EIther way, it makes sense in the plot of the movie. She definitely plays a believable female president that likely was assumed to be Hillary.
How well does the story play out?
I think the story itself is highly implausible from a realist viewpoint. I don't think the US would ever dip into a coup d'etat against a nuclear power like Russia. So from that perspective it is unreasonable. However, if we look at non-nuclear powers, the US was involved in the assassination of Iran's Prime Minister in 1953. This in turn, directly influenced the rise of Ayatollah and his eventual takeover and extreme hostility to the US afterwards. If you look aside from these realities, then the story plays out like a fun crazy plot from Hollywood.
What did you think of the submarines?
I think the different submarines and ships used in the movie were quite impressive. Who knew that you could have a baby sub on the back of a submarine to rescue other subs. Is this reality? Hmmm.... I know civilian subs for exploration would possibly have this, but the US navy? None of the current US submarines have this attached second submarine. They could likely include it, but the radar detection would be huge. Its another story device to kind of transition from the seal force to the submarine force. In reality, they would simply swim in from a normal sub or drive a water inflatable boat to the shore. Of course, having a second submarine attached just looks much cooler. It works from a story level. I think the only thing that bothered me in the sub story was the declining the ladders. I believe under war conditions the sailors actually slide right down the ladders and shoot themselves between compartments on the sub. Likely they should have trained for this scenario to give a more realistic feel.
What did you make of the two captains?
If you look at the captain of the Hunt for the Red October, the crew and positions were a bit more believable. Its hard to believe the sailors would have a more lackadaisical attitude. I think they play it tough, but some of the characters come off a bit soft for the role. Again, this is comparing to Sean Connery, but if you're playing ship captains, you better live up to the roles. The Russian captain seems less bad ass, which may be the case after the collapse of the USSR in the 90s, but I think these captains would still be hard edged to the core.
What did you think of the SEAL team?
So to rescue the Russian president they have a SEAL team launched on the ground to get the Russian president from a rogue Defense Admiral's control. I think this part of the movie flowed pretty well. They jump out of a plane, land and start the land deploy to the Russian submarine base. The only part that didn't make sense is the dive in the water, the equipment is believable, but were they in fact packing it? It seemed like their backpacks wouldn't have had all the gear they ended up having. The sniper position was a nice add in the film, although again do you think they would have got pinned exactly in the right spot for the sniper to save them? Seems a bit of a plot device, but it works for me.
Which parts of the movie would you change?
There are two parts that need work in my view. First, there is a young female NSA agent running as the representative in the US Department of Defense, this really doesn't make sense. She could be the go between for the DOD, but its primary representative? That's a bit of a stretch, but I think for the story it kind of works, since you don't want to have to develop that part of the story as well.
Another issue is simply the training of the submarine crew could have been better I think to be more believable. It just seemed like they rehearsed for 1-2 weeks. I think they should have trained for hours for a few weeks and then film as the scenes would seem much more natural. If you look at the Red October or say Red Dawn (84 version), you can see all the training that went into making the characters believable. Kind of weird too if you look at say 300 and Butler just slays in that role. The director just wasn't as driving I think in training the actors to be believable in the submarine roles.
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