Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Youth vs. Age, Brains vs. Brawn

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Youth vs. Age, Brains vs. Brawn

Article excerpt

"CRIMSON TIDE" Rating: R, language. Running time: 1:56.

HE doesn't have any little steel balls to rattle, but Gene Hackman does a passable job of bringing Capt. Queeg up to date in "Crimson Tide," a trite, predictable tale of conflict on a nuclear-armed submarine. "The Caine Mutiny," "Fail Safe" and "The Hunt for Red October" all pop up here and there. Do not, however, look for another "Das Boot."

Denzel Washington represents youth and, oddly, a by-the-book pattern of behavior; Gene Hackman is age and a large number of seat-of-the pants decisions. He's an up-through-the-ranks sailor ("Anyone who wants easy duty should have joined the Air Force," he tells the crew), while Washington is not only an Academy graduate, but a Harvard man and a philosopher. Over dinner one night, when enemies are discussed, Washington says that the true enemy is war itself, which certainly gives him the credentials to be a card-carrying wimp.

Washington is a newly assigned executive officer on the Alabama when a crisis breaks out. No crisis, no movie. Rebel Russians are threatening to take over government missile sites, and the United States wants subs in the Pacific to keep an eye and an armed missile on potential trouble.

Hackman continues to needle Washington as the ship crosses the Pacific, making tests and practicing various operations. Washington is a semi-hero in a galley (kitchen to the Air Force) fire one day, but before the blaze is fully out, Hackman starts a mock disaster exercise. Washington is a little miffed, but Hackman's explanation, that things happen in groups, not always with time to rest, sounded good to me.

About the time they get to Japan, a Russian sub shows up, and the special effects people get to work. …

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