K-19: The Widowmaker

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Well. Hm. So there I was at the Red Cross, in a chair with needles in my arms for two hours…they had this and About A Boy, two of the few on their shelf of videos that I hadn’t seen…so, since I know I can’t see anything sad when I can’t bend my elbows, and I figured anything with Hugh Grant and a kid would have to be a tearjerker, I thought I’d give this a try. Sure, Mr. Otter panned it, but it’s got Harrison Ford, I said to myself, how bad can it be?

Ah well. Mr. Otter was right.

Now, I do like Harrison Ford, and most of the time he qualifies for Serious Honey status in my book, even in something silly like Air Force One…but not here. Not with his amazing disappearing sort-of-eastern-european-but-not-really accent. Not trying to be stern and totalitarian, yet sympathetic, and failing miserably. Not trying to be better looking and hunkier than (whatta bilt) Total Honey Liam Neeson (one scene of him in a tank top, I’ll take what I can get). And especially not when he is taking himself SO SERIOUSLY that he should get a Shatner award for Advanced Scenery Chewing. Sigh.

Neeson is good, as the captain of the sub whose men like and respect him, and who has to deal with Ford coming in and replacing him…but you know, it’s a submarine movie. The only submarine movie that I’ve ever seen that was different from EVERY SINGLE OTHER doggone sub movie ever made was Hunt for Red October, and mostly because the real action WASN’T about life on the sub…there just aren’t a lot of dramatic choices there. At least, not after the first sub movie you see.

Plus I was entirely mislead by the title. I mean, I’m an otter who loves graphic violence…I saw the subtitle, The Widowmaker, and thought, aha! Dead guys everywhere, blood and body parts, just what I need to distract me while I’m donating…it sounded like a major seagoing bloodbath, and I was ready for it.

But no. What a crock! Yes, they say that 10 guys are killed building it, but that doesn’t really count…the total body count after they put to sea? Seven guys. Yup, that’s it. And they just die of radiation sickness. Which they mostly volunteer for to fix the reactor (which is the problem here, a wonky reactor and they’re trying not only to get back alive, but also not to cause WWIII from their reactor going off and setting off their warheads, it being 1961 and everyone standing with fingers poised over buttons…)

And if you really want to be picky, the only guy whose significant other you actually see is not married, so technically she isn’t a widow. Hmph. Where are the truth in advertising laws when you need them?

As Mr. Otter said when I complained about this one, it’s hard to get excited about a movie where the most interesting actor is the nuclear reactor…and as is often the case, he was absolutely right. No wonder Ford was chewing the scenery, hard to compete with good special effects.

If you’re a die-hard sub fan, you’ll have to see it, but don’t expect too much. And make sure you’ve got food and alcohol on hand, it’s OVER TWO HOURS LONG…

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