Runtime: 119 mins total
What To Expect: An effective sub thriller but above all, a good story, almost bare bones Blu-Ray
Good sub movies are always right up our street. So are movies about stolen and/or found loot. Like A Simple Plan (1998), a movie starring Bill Paxton where he and some friends find millions in cash. So this movie is almost like a cross between Das Boot and A Simple Plan, where men go to insane depths in an iron beast, to the point where the bolts are sheering and acting like bullets, then disagree with one another over the sharing of the loot. It has some problems, but Black Sea is largely a very fun movie.
During WW2 a German submarine packed to the gills with Soviet gold sinks in the Black Sea for unknown reasons. The Black Sea is also known as the Dead Sea, so the wreck is in pretty good condition. Not many know about the loot, but the Georgian government is zeroing in on it, among others. A private company then, hires old sea dog Jude Law (Cpt. Robinson) to lead a crew of ex-submariners to head down to the wreck and retrieve the gold in a decrepit retired Soviet sub. Half the crew are Russian, which leads to tensions. More tensions arrise over disputes among all about the share per man handed out. To sweeten the deal, they must sneak in beneath the Russian Black Sea fleet, probably the most lethal naval formation outside a U.S. Navy carrier group.
The movie is a superb story (rated 8/10) even if it has some glaring plotholes and it’s also crisply directed, with classy performances from a well picked cast. However the Blu-Ray release leaves a lot to be desired. You could only really be advised to buy this on Blu-Ray if you’re happy enough with just having the movie in 1080p. It has a nice transfer which is occasionally stunning, with a creaking and oppressive 5.1 DTS track to assault the nerves further with this claustrophobic tub thriller. But apart from the UV code, there is nothing else here.
Case in point, Universal has put more ‘preview’ footage on this Blu-Ray release than actual extras for the movie itself. You get a five minute ‘documentary’ for Black Sea, which is so snappy and harshly quick that it feels like a trailer for something larger. But then elsewhere on the disc are previews for A Place Beyond the Pines and multiple other movies, which exceeds the five minute mark. This release also has icons as menu buttons, without any wording. A small annoyance, but I have to go through each one to find out what they actually meant, until I found what I was looking for.
Director Kevin MacDonald has made a good movie and is enthusiastic in his director’s commentary. It’s also give a beefy transfer, wow-factor often appearing. But an otherwise cheap Blu-Ray release from Universal.