Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars
Who doesn’t love a good submarine thriller? It has been a while since we had a great one, possibly “U-571”. “Phantom” is not perfect but it does star four-time Academy Award nominee Ed Harris and Golden Globe winner David Duchovny and they are great together. I am surprised that this film didn’t get more exposure based on the cast alone. It was also shot on an actual decommissioned Soviet submarine, which gets some points for authenticity from me. It may not rank up there with “Das Boot” or “The Hunt for Red October” but it does deliver some decent underwater war action and is worth at least a rental for sure. Also another recent good sub project is the short-lived TV series “Last Resort”, which was just released on DVD.
Official Premise: At the height of the cold war, the world holds its breath when a Soviet submarine armed with nuclear missiles goes missing in the Pacific. On board the vessel, the battle-tested captain (Harris) and a rogue KGB agent (Duchovny) are waging a life-and-death game of cat and mouse. With enemy forces closing in and time running out, the captain fights to keep control with nuclear armageddon hanging in the balance.
20th Century Fox has been have a new trend with their combo pack including a Blu-ray and UltraViolet HD digital copy. The film is low budget but has a strong 1080p transfer presentation. It looks sharp, especially with the dark scenes and captures the isolation of being in the sub. The film’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 also delivers the tension and action quite well. I also dug the score quite a bit. The special features are decent like the film itself. Starting with an audio commentary track with writer/director Todd Robinson and Ed Harris, not terribly over exciting but informative. “Facing the Apocalypse: Making Phantom” is a pretty decent behind-the-scenes look at the production. “The Real Phantom” features the director and historian Kenneth Sewell giving background on the story of the real K-129. “Jeff Rona: Scoring Phantom” is a featurette on the film’s score. Lastly there is music video for the song “An Ocean Away”.