“The Hunt for Red October” felt like the beginning of a theme park attraction, rather than an actual movie. There’s a lot of buildup, political and ethical boundaries crossed and a big leap in technology that could make for a visual spectacale if you were on the vehicle in question. But the characters are so underdevloped and played to their simplest function, even for Sean Connery’s Russian captain and Alec Baldwin’s energetic Jack Ryan, that they could have been anybody. Even the suspense of the silent submarine duels doesn’t start reaching its tipping point until halfway through the third act, far too late to make up for the slow buildup. If I were actually in the center of the action on a theme park ride, stuck on a doomed submarine with little chance to escape aside from an expert captain, then this would be amazing. But as a movie that continually cuts around and plays with perspective like its going out of style, “The Hunt for Red October” is just a simple, sometimes effective, submarine thriller.
Final Grade: C+