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Movie Review: K-19, The Widowmaker

Story: How many remember the good old days of the Cold War? Recall when you knew who your enemy was - or was supposed to be? Well, the Soviet Union is long gone - yet out of the memory box comes this ho-hum reminder of those days of yore.

Inspired by true events that occurred in 1961, Director Kathryn Bigelow (Strange Days) submerges us into the cold depths of the North Atlantic with a fairly conventional treatment of a borderline crisis, tension between the two main characters, the possibility of World War 3 and bad plumbing.

Essentially the tension exists between the good Captain and the bad Captain. (Yes, we have co-captains on this not so yellow submarine.) There is lots and lots of staring, scowling, sneering, and an occasional burst of temper and battle of testosterone.

I found the most interesting part of the film to be the indictment of the Soviet system with its notorious bureaucratic incompetence, poor supplies for the military, bad electrical wiring, no medical equipment for the troops and the aforementioned...bad plumbing. Had we known how ill-equipped the Soviets really were...perhaps the Cold War would not have lingered so long? Or then again, maybe we knew all along.

Acting: Hmm. As I have mentioned above, there was lots of scowling and staring. I am not impressed with this school of method acting. However, Liam Neeson, as the good Captain, who is usually compelling (except for the embarrassing Nell) held his own and did not shame his good name. Harrison Ford (who was also executive producer) played the bad Captain and was not very convincing. I am not a big fan of his (oh, oh - here come the hate mail). I think he has been playing the same character for about twenty-five years and that has grown old. The other men were adequate but were reduced to stereotypical young sailor types.

Critters: One little white mouse

Food: Most of the food was irradiated and became inedible. I only remember red wine, some crackers and jam.

Visual Art: There is not much room for visual art on a submarine.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: So over the top that we actually laughed a few times.

Opening Titles: Just some explanatory type to explain the history.

Theater Audience: Three guys and us.

Sappy Factor: 2

Predictability Level: High

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: How come Russia is referred to as the Motherland and Germany is referred to as the Fatherland? Anyone out there have the answer to that one?

Big Screen or Rental: Rental. If you are into submarine films here are a few for you to rent: Das Boot, Destination: Tokyo, Crimson Tide, The Yellow Submarine, Operation Petticoat, U-571 and Run Silent, Run Deep.

Length: 2 hours and 10 minutes. (Over the LOBO 2 hour rule.)