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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • 7 Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 2 Featurette

Crimson Tide: SE

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 111 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

If and when the world finally goes to war again, and the Americans decide to blow some deserving bastards back into the stone age, I hope they put Gene Hackman in charge of a nuclear submarine.

He has got to be one of the most no-shit-takingest, hard-arsed, steely-eyed sonofabitches that has ever lived. In Crimson Tide he plays the commander of a nuclear submarine sent out when a power-mad Russian ultranationalist (in case you don't know what an 'ultranationalist' is, it's a few steps up from a power-mad meganationalist) threatens world peace and the freedom of every man, woman and child to own bonsai plants without being called a ponce.

Denzel Washington is the moral, upstanding, idealist guy (who probably grows poncey bonsai plants) called in to be Hackman’s second in command on this mission. For a while things go fine. Lots of testosterone is flung freely around the sub, lots of witty lines are said, lots of macho posturing occurs, and there’s lots of discussing the purpose of nuclear war (to blow shit up and sell movie tickets, obviously). Then things go pear shaped. Communications with above are cut off and they are left with a partially decoded message that may or may not say that war has started on the surface and they should fire their nuclear missiles at the enemy and kiss their shipmates’ arses goodbye.

Well Gene Hackman, being a man’s man, looks armageddon squarely in the eyes and says in a gruff voice, “Mr. Sulu, prepare to fire off a few missiles at those Klingon scumbags!”

Denzel, being a goody-two shoes university graduate type says, “But golly gee willikers, sir! What if we’re wrong?”

Hackman says “And what if we’re right, shithead?”

Washington says “By gosh, I wont let you do it!”

Hackman says “Oh yeah? Whaddya gonna do, bonsai boy?”

Washington says “Shucks. How about a mutiny, by jeepers?! I bet you didn’t see that coming!"

Hackman says "F**k you."

It’s very deep stuff.

The rest of the film is concerned with the mutiny, an anti-mutiny, and the possible re-mutinisation of the sub while they await the confirmation of the partial message which will determine their fates.

Of course, being another Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer shitstorm, you have to expect lots and lots of yelling, shaky camera movements and tilted angles, dramatic orchestral stirrings with choirs of men going "Ohhhhhohohohhhhhhohhohhhhooooohhooohoooo" dramatically when they want you to stand up and salute the Almighty American Flag, a few explosions, important sounding commands, moody lighting, drug taking and sex with expensive hookers (admittedly the last bits probably happened behind the camera, that Don Simpson was one crazy bato). Incredibly, within all this lunacy, they actually managed to make one hell of an entertaining film. There's tension, there's drama, there's excitement, there's Gene Hackman telling Denzel Washington to "...SHUT THE F**K UP!"

What more, I ask, could you possibly want in a film?

  Video
Contract

Crimson Tide looks so good that when Hackman stares at the camera with his steely gaze, you’d swear he’s looking right at you and you stand to attention and pee yourself.

I've only ever had the VHS version of this film to compare this DVD to, and that has been well used as I’ve been trotting it out on a regular basis for the past few years. It suffers from murky and bleeding colours, not to mention the reduced resolution and obvious pan and scanning destroying the framing of the original. On DVD, the picture to me is nothing short of a revelation in comparison, with sharply defined detail and colours that are typically Simpson/Bruckheimer.

The clarity and delineation between colours is great, as is the definition of detail right down to resolving the sheen of sweat that regularly appears on the characters faces. ‘Crisp’ is an overused word in reviews, so you won’t mind me using it again, as ‘crisp’ certainly applies to this picture. Crisp, crisp, crisp. Can you believe that every time I wrote crisp in this review I incorrectly spelt it crosp, crspi or crpis? Mind, there are some non-crsip scenes which seem ever so slightly out of focus, but they are few and far between.

  Audio
Contract

You'd think that this film is perfect for a demo DVD soundtrack, and it nearly reaches the heights of my expectations, just falling short of perfection. It’s not all it could have been and doesn’t make full use of all the opportunities for real immersion as the English remixed Das Boot shows is possible with these settings. The dialogue is bright and clear, the audio is generally nice and meaty, with plenty of 'oomph' when the action needs to fill the room with big sound. Surround activity is fairly good, with plenty of opportunity given for the channels to pan effects about the room. The discrete use of the rears is sharp and effective and plenty of good deep bass will come a rumblin’ from your sub (that sounds a bit rude, doesn’t it?)

Shortcomings aside, it sounds so good at times that when Hackman yells out an order, you scream “YES SIR!” and you run around your loungeroom looking for a missile to launch.

  Extras
Contract

This Special Edition release offers more than the original bare DVD release, which is good thing, but it’s not really a huge selection to choose from.

There's featurette numero uno, The Making of Crimson Tide (20mins), which is a good look at the making of the film, and tries to condense many different elements down into its brief running time. Probably too many things really, as the result is a feeling that elements are barely touched before moving on, stripping it of a bit of cohesiveness. Then featurette two, All Access: On the set of Crimson Tide (10mins), which takes a more candid behind the scenes look at on set shenanigans with a bit of rehearsal, some set up shots, etc. Have a look, get it out of your system, move on.

Next, Deleted Scenes (seven scenes – 6mins) of mostly nothing important, but one does flesh out some more of the Russian loony who started the whole mess in the first place, though it is unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, a Theatrical Trailer and then the single best extra on this DVD which isn’t listed on the packaging is the Descriptive Audio Track. Enabled, this has some Charlton Heston voiced guy describing what’s happening on screen. It’s excellent! I want this guy’s job. “Vincent sits at his laptop. He looks at the screen. He thinks of what to write next. His hands move over the keyboard swiftly. He stops. His hands move swiftly again, correcting all the typos he made. He scratches his bum. He gets another beer.” Way too cool!

  Overall  
Contract

In the end, what really matters on these DVDs is the film. Forget the extras, it's the film which we're really buying. And Crimson Tide is a great film, full of all that is good and evil in beer and popcorn entertainment. The end results are the same whether you're drunk or sober, and that's what I like most about it. Have a few too many beers or wines and it's all good fun. It's kind of like having a night out at the pub with the boys, getting smashed then being asked to save the world before you sober up. There's no doubt you'll stuff it up and it'll end with many people horribly disfigured or dead, but you'll have a ripper time trying anyway. Don't drink beer or wine? You still walk away feeling like you've seen some quality braincandy and haven't wasted two hours of your life.

As for the DVD, it does just about everything that a DVD about nuclear subs, mutiny, Gene Hackman and small dogs should do, except it doesn't have an audio commentary, which might upset the sort of people who get upset by such ommisions. Not I, however, as I was sufficiently pleased with the DVD as it is. You will be too. God Bless America!


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1567
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      And I quote...
    "This does just about everything that a DVD about nuclear subs, mutiny, Gene Hackman and small dogs should do."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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