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Quentin Tarantino did an uncredited polish of the dialogue of this very silly submarine thriller—a bit of cold-war nostalgia set in the present, seemingly derived from The Bedford Incident of 1965, with Gene Hackman taking over the Richard Widmark part as dictatorial captain and Denzel Washington replacing Sidney Poitier as the desperate liberal. One hopes it wasn't Tarantino (or the similarly uncredited Robert Towne and Steven Zaillian) who dreamed up the phrase “a violation of nuclear launch protocol,” which sounds like a line from Dr. Strangelove and is actually used here at a military hearing without a trace of irony. Behind all the macho bluster stand (or, it would appear, sit) director Tony Scott, writers Michael Schiffer and Richard P. Henrick, and producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, trying (and failing) to get all the characters to behave like grown-ups. With George Dzundza, Viggo Mortensen, James Gandolfini, and an uncredited Jason Robards.

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