The story of USSR's first nuclear ballistic submarine, which suffered a malfunction in its nuclear reactor on its maiden voyage in the North Atlantic in 1961. The submarine's crew, led by the unyielding Captain Alexi Vostrikov, races against time to prevent a Chernobyl-like nuclear disaster which threatens not only the lives of his crew, but has the potential to ignite a world war between the super powers. Written by
The character of Executive Officer Mikhail Polenin is based on the historical Soviet Naval officer Vasili Arkhipov, who served as Deputy Commander and Executive Officer of K-19 during its 1961 nuclear accident. Arkhipov would later serve on the Soviet Submarine B-59 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and reportedly refused to concur with the launch of a nuclear torpedo against an American destroyer, thus possible preventing the outbreak of World War III. Arkhipov would go on to hold several submarine command postings and was a submarine squadron commander before promotion to Rear Admiral in 1975. He was made a Vice Admiral in 1981, retiring a few years later, and died in 1998. See more »
The submarine, on its way to fire the test missile, is shown speeding through the water with bubbles coming from the propellers. This is called cavitation and creates LOTS of noise. A stealthy submarine, on its way to a launch, would never cavitate, except in an emergency. See more »
In an attempt to break from his usual sympathetic every man bit, Ford plays a blunt, powerful, hard working Russian Naval officer who is given command of a nuclear powered sub from its well liked, almost fatherly captain played by Liam Neeson. Harrison and Liam clash as only two strong willed alpha males can when they take the sub out for a spin and fight to keep it from blowing up and causing a world wide tragedy.
Based on a true story.
Ford and Neeson give solid performances to this long, murky, cold, and ultimately detached action drama that proved to be one of 2002's lesser box office endeavors. As stated before, the film suffers from a feeling of disconnection, even as numbers of brave men are sent into the nuclear reactor with improper protection ("They might as well be wearing rain coats!")
Could have been better, and it could have been a lot worse. Rent and judge for yourself. Probably mostly for fans of Ford and Neeson.
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