16 May 2004 | bob the moo
Very basic war film
After being cleared for all blame for a manoeuvre that cost him his submarine and the lives of 50 men, Commander Bolton is given the command of a secret training mission based from Scotland. With a small group of men, he trains to operate several 3-man submarines that will be used to infiltrate German waters and ambush key boats within the German navy. However, men within the group blame him for the deaths and also are under a great deal of pressure with the tight training schedule.
Despite being based on a true story, this film manages to be very dull with very few worthwhile features. This film is very slow and a B-movie without having any of the good qualities that B-movies can often have. The plot is simple but that is no excuse for it not actually being fun: the idea of training followed by the mission is no barrier and has been done many times to good effect (think Dirty Dozen). The problem here is that the script manages to take this premise and do practically nothing with it. The total lack of characters is a major failing contrast it with Dirty Dozen's rogues gallery and you'll see what I mean. It is practically impossible to tell the men apart (even after the film ends) simply because they have no character to speak of.
This is mostly the scripts fault most of the time the men just stare with heavy resolve and say dialogue that sounds clichéd and basic. Men have gruff faces and stare, men stare into the sea, men stare out of the submarine periscopes etc it's typical B-movie acting but usually it isn't as totally lacking in fun as it is here. Caan is the main reason I watched this film but he has nothing to work with here. Like I said, there is not even one role in the whole support cast that was memorable enough for me to remember them long enough to write this review!
Overall this film is plodding and dull. It feels like the war movie made in the 1940's and is all the worse for being made in the late 60's. It is has enough value to act as a passable bit of mindless filler if you are looking for the film equivalent of background music but really it is a very poor film. Being based on a true story it is surprising how undramatic it is and it doesn't even manage to do what the rest of the 'training/mission' genre clichés do reasonably well. A very basic film with very little to enjoy and barely worth watching.