Sunday, November 27, 2022

REVIEW: Down Periscope (live action movie)

Down Periscope is a 1996 military comedy. I bought my copy used.


Lieutenant Commander Thomas Dodge is being considered for promotion to submarine captain for the third and final time. He was previously passed over due to his unorthodox methods and a Russian submarine "brushing" incident. Also, he supposedly has a genital tattoo that makes him a bit of a joke.

Rear Admiral Yancy Graham, who dislikes Dodge, reluctantly agrees to allow the results of Dodge's final promotion attempt to be based on the outcome of a war game designed to test the Navy's defenses against an attack from diesel-powered submarines. Dodge is given command of an ancient and rusty diesel-powered sub and a crew consisting entirely of misfits no one else wants.

It's a test he seems doomed to fail, but Dodge is used to working with what he's been given, and his future depends on putting everything he's got into this.

Another one from my list of movies it's been ages since I've last seen but remembered enjoying. One thing I did not remember was that Rob Schneider had a role in it - I flinched when he appeared on-screen. I'm not a fan of him, at all. Thankfully, his character was designed to get booted from the sub, and it was a pleasure to see him go.

I still enjoyed Sonar, the inhumanly talented Sonar Technician, and Bradley Stepanak, the engineman who initially wanted to get kicked off the sub and who, in the end, found himself actually liking the job. Quirky but still oddly competent characters are my jam, and this movie was full of them.

I wasn't as much a fan of the crass humor as I used to be, and some of the stuff with Lieutenant Emily Lake, the Diving Officer, was cringeworthy to rewatch. While I appreciated that Dodge didn't tolerate the efforts to bully her and made an effort to grow her skills when he could have just brushed her aside and focused on his personal goals, it left a bad taste in my mouth that he initially thought she was a stripper sent by his friends to see him off. I had completely forgotten about that bit.

All in all, this had aspects that haven't aged well, but I appreciated the "quirky underdogs succeeding against the odds" storyline and many of its jokes still managed to make me laugh.

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