New On Netflix: The Hunt For Red October

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Director John McTiernan traded the jungles of Predator and the L.A. high rise of Die Hard for the claustrophobic setting of a nuclear submarine in this taut techno-thriller based on the novel by Tom Clancy. Alec Baldwin, one of our national treasures, makes for a fine Jack Ryan (definitely better than Harrison Ford, who would take up the mantle two years later with Patriot Games), the CIA analyst trying to convince his superiors that a heavily armed Soviet sub headed for American waters has an agenda other than first strike, and Sean Connery delivers one of his best (and decidedly underplayed) performances as a sly military man leaving Mother Russia behind with his merry boat of Red defectors. Sam Neill steals the show in what ends up being a rather heartbreaking performance as one of Connery’s officers (“I would’ve liked to have seen Montana…”), and the action scenes are top notch (no surprise, as McTiernan was in his prime here). The Hunt For Red October is one of the best action thrillers of the ’90s… and, perhaps, the very first (it was released in March 1990).

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