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February 28, 2013

Hollywood pros make 'Phantom' just a solid B-movie

(Continued)

Nobody feigns an accent. Nobody calls anybody else “comrade.” They just go about the business of putting an aged, crowded killing machine through its paces en route to the Pacific, where nerves, loyalties and history will be put to the test.

Characters spend much of the movie explaining submarine tactics to the “guests” on board, who apparently have never seen a submarine movie. (“Sound is the enemy of a submarine.”)

They diagram Kremlin politics and conspiracy theories, and gripe about the Americans — always trailing them, always on watch, “with their snouts in the trough.”

Robinson manages some suspense, but the thriller’s ticking clock is a weak one. He’s sloppy at solving script problems, giving a character in the submarine claustrophobia (!?) so that another character must handle a difficult task.

But the cast never lets on that this alternative history (think Glomar Explorer) isn’t the most dazzling riff on the Soviet-era “Silent Service.” Captain to boson, Harris to Henriksen, this Hollywood crew is too professional for that.

Cast: Ed Harris, David Duchovny, William Fichtner, Lance Henriksen, Johnathon Schaech, Sean Patrick Flannery

Written and directed by Todd Robinson. An RCR Media Group release.

Running time: 1:38

MPAA rating: R for violence

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