CIA analyst Jack Ryan must stop the plans of a Neo Nazis faction that threatens to induce a catastrophic conflict between the United States and Russia's newly elected president by detonating a nuclear weapon at a football game in Baltimore.
When some Russian rebels takes control of some ICBM's, the Americans mobilize. Among the vessels sent is the nuclear sub, the Alabama. But before they leave they need a new X.O. and among the choices is Commander Hunter, who hasn't seen much action. But the ship's Captain, Ramsey OK's him. While on the way, there was an incident and Hunter disagreed with how Ramsey handled it, it's evident that Ramsey doesn't think much of Hunter because Hunter was college educated while Ramsey worked his way up. They're given orders to attack but when they were in the process of receiving another order, the ship's communications were damaged, so the entire message was not received. Ramsey decides to continue with their previous order while Hunter wants to reestablish contact first. That's when the two men butt heads that ends with Hunter relieving Ramsey. Later when some men die, some of the officers feel that Hunter is not up to the task so they team up to retake control. But Hunter has taken ... Written by
The underlying dramatic plotline of this film was; at the time, a closely held secret in the command and control of the U.S. Navy's Ballistic Missile Submarine force. The "boomers", were the third leg of the "triad" of strategic nuclear weapons delivery systems consisting of: manned bombers, land-based missiles (in underground concrete silos); and, submarine based intermediate range ballistic missiles, as are carried aboard the SSBNs, like the Alabama. The crucial dramatic plotline of this film is; that without the authorization, and the validated order to do so; and, with such authorization and order being in doubt; and, not being positively and affirmatively known; and, not being in the possession of the submarine's Commanding Officer and its qualified nuclear weapons officers; the Commanding Officer (Hackman) proposed; (and his submarine had the capability to); arm and launch the nuclear weapons of his boat, on his and his officer's decisions alone, to do so. Unknown to the American public generally, at the time, and wrongly presumed to in fact be wholly otherwise; this allegedly fictional sequence of events was in fact true. The commanding officers and the nuclear weapons officers of the ballistic missile submarine force; unlike their Air Force counterparts in the then-existent Strike Command (the legendary Strategic Air Command (SAC) was abolished in 1992), had in effect, independent launch authority; should the officers of the submarine agree to such an action. The complete nuclear weapons release protocol (i.e. the permissive action links to arm and launch), existed entirely aboard the sub, and in the training of its crew, and the equipment and systems they were provided. For the land based missiles and bombers, this was not the case. The launch order transmitted by the "football" carrying military aide to the President, for the bomber and land based missile forces had to transmit to those forces, the unlocking codes necessary to initiate the weapons' arming and release (launching) protocols. Without this, the missiles could both never be launched, and their weapons never armed. It was known as positive control. Because of the difficulty of communicating with the subs, at all times on deterrent patrol, and normally several hundred feet beneath the ocean's surface; and also normally operating in total radio silence; a crisis might develop, and the ground based radios to communicate with the subs might be preemptively destroyed. So, the Navy and Defense Department's initial solution; was, to give launch control authority jointly, and individually, to the sub's commander and his officers. This was not generally known until Crimson Tide (1995). With the reduction in global tensions since the 1990s, between the superpowers; and, the vast improvement in ground and space based global communications, the U.S. Navy's "boomers" are now joined in the positive control regime with the other legs of the nuclear triad. See more »
In a mutiny/stand-off scene Capt. Frank Ramsey tells Lt. Commander Ron Hunter about Lipizzaner horses; how those are "all white" and "from Portugal". Hunter corrects Ramsey with that the horses are from Spain and that those "are born black". Ramsey insists that they are from Portugal. At the very end scene, Ramsey volunteers to Hunter that Hunter is right; the horses are from Spain. However - both are wrong: The horses originate from town of Lipica in Slovenia (hence the name), and are nowadays bred in Slovenia, Austria, Italy and other countries. The Spain confusion is probably due to that the horses are closely associated with the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria, established in 1572, one of the riding schools where Lipizzans are trained. A Lippizaner is born black or bay, but turn gray when reaching maturity (not completely white). See more »
Tense little action thriller on par with "The Hunt for Red October" has a nuclear submarine commander (Gene Hackman) and his new second-in-command (Denzel Washington) getting in a chess match of words and wits ala "Mutiny on the Bounty". Russian rebels may be about to launch nuclear missiles at any moment. Commands come through for Hackman to detonate the weapons from their ship, but then another message after that one which is incomplete splits the entire crew. Hackman thinks it is time to take control with aggression while Washington believes that this is way too important without knowing everything there is to know. A wide range of characters on the submarine (which includes Viggo Mortensen, Steve Zahn, James Gandolfini, Rick Schroeder, George Dzundza) must decide which of the all-world performers they are going to side with. The screenplay is mediocre really, but Hackman and Washington know how to overcome that and director Tony Scott keeps the pulse of his audience in high over-drive. Definitely an acceptable piece from the genre. 4 stars out of 5.
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