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Overall Rating
3.01

Awesome: 10.34%
Worth A Look43.68%
Just Average: 8.05%
Pretty Crappy: 12.64%
Sucks: 25.29%

14 reviews, 90 user ratings


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U-571
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Spam in a can."
2 stars

A beefy, crunchy sound mix can certainly add to the impact of a film, but I've never seen a movie as dependent on a fancy sound system as the submarine thriller 'U-571.' I have a foolproof test for such audio spectacles: If you saw it on a 15-inch TV screen with a dinky mono speaker, would it still be a compelling film? Interesting characters? Good story well-told? 'U-571' flunks on all counts.

It's not that this is a disgraceful movie -- it's the sort of film for which the noncommittal phrase "It's okay for what it is" was coined. And what is it? Take away the god-of-thunder sound mix and you have a historical action flick, sometimes competent, occasionally tense, more often inert. But how hard is it to work up suspense by putting a group of men in a tin can hundreds of meters below the surface, then setting off explosions all around them? The movie that did all this to a T, of course, was 1982's classic Das Boot, which was more a study of personalities under stress than a war story. U-571 is like a hyper Internet-age remix of Das Boot without, y'know, all that boring characterization. It's Das Boot stripped for action.

The movie sets up a tentative hero -- young Lt. Andrew Tyler (Matthew McConaughey), who wants to run his own sub but has no command experience. If you sense early on that the film is going to be about how Tyler proves his mettle, you're half right -- U-571 will also be about selfless sacrifice, pulling together as a team, and lots of jiggly camerawork whenever the sub takes a hit. Only the ship's chief (Harvey Keitel) has any faith in Tyler; he even gives Tyler pointers on how to act as though he has all the answers even when he doesn't (which is often).

These men are part of a mission based glancingly on actual World War II events. The Germans have a secret code to communicate with each other; the Allies haven't been able to crack it, so the plan is to steal the Germans' code machine from one of their subs. Tyler and his crew, posing as Germans, succeed in taking over the German sub, but then their own vessel is sunk by a German rescue ship. Now they have to get home in the leaky German sub they now occupy, hampered by destroyer ships, depth charges, and the most by-the-numbers script since Armageddon.

I suppose there's something to be said for a movie that just goes in there and does the job. U-571 has almost no downtime; like Das Boot, it kicks off with a bit of R&R but quickly gets down to business. The trouble is, the movie is edited to within an inch of its life; there's no room to breathe. And, aside from McConaughey and Keitel -- that is to say, the stars -- most everyone is interchangeable, so that when someone dies, you have only the vaguest sense who it was, much less why you should care. A scene in which a dead man is shot up to the surface as a distraction tactic underlines why most of the characters are there: to die for our entertainment.

The cheesy moments pile up. Tyler, of course, gains authority as the film goes on, or so the script tells us. You wouldn't know it from McConaughey's performance, though he valiantly foregoes his usual good-ole-boy grin; at times, he gets so grim he's ready to recite beat poetry. When a young sailor bravely dies for the good of the ship, Tyler says, "He never gave up," and the ship's (and film's) token black sailor validates him: "Neither did you, sir."

'U-571' never gives up, either, but it's a lot of Dolby sound and computer-generated fury signifying nothing.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1812&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/02/07 16:57:23
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User Comments

8/15/12 Ding Dong Awesome actioner with good production values. Who cares about accuracy. 4 stars
9/30/08 Shaun Wallner I really enjoyed this film. 5 stars
6/17/07 al smith fucking shit it was the brits who got the enigma not the fucking yanks 1 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK America did a lot in the war. But the way some directors on its as if no-one else fought... 3 stars
11/24/06 David Pollastrini great action 4 stars
9/07/06 Thomas Semesky Nothing really exciting here. 3 stars
6/11/06 Dave Webber Nice little drama - if you don't take it too serious 4 stars
1/08/06 Steven Lewis Lots of goofs, it still has a strong message and a power fictional story. Great film. 3 stars
6/09/05 JD Distorting history for this lame movie, they should be so proud. 1 stars
4/24/05 Quigley an awesome story with suspenseful action. I'll never enter a sub, and that's OK with me 5 stars
8/27/04 Aaron Smith best sub movie I've seen 4 stars
6/18/04 Denise Duspiva wanted more story 3 stars
5/22/04 Monster W. Kung I piss on this movie. 1 stars
5/21/04 Idiot's Mouth This reviewer seems to be saying he WANTS McCaunaghey to try a British accent. ? . ?. 1 stars
12/08/03 john I hate to agree with an antisemitic moron but this movie just badly ripps off DAS BOOT 1 stars
12/03/03 tom MAy not be historically accurate but good movie!! 4 stars
8/28/03 Ameray Coland This move is FALSE about ENIGMA History. Jewish David Ayer do NOT KNOW history !!! 1 stars
3/31/03 Jack Sommersby Predictable, but it works. 3 stars
3/20/03 May Q. Horney Decent Submarine movie, not as good as CRIMSON TIDE or K-19 THE WIDOWMAKER. 4 stars
2/25/03 y2mckay nothing special, but an enjoyable sub action flick. It ain't DAS BOOT, but what is? 4 stars
2/15/03 Angolmois Shamelessly rips off both history and other sub-movies. A bit better than a lobotomy. 1 stars
1/04/03 freewaygl great testerone flick for women who like men in action!~! Yah! 4 stars
12/02/02 R.W. Welch Good actioner though somewhat overblown and historically inaccurate 3 stars
10/26/02 Ollie Charles The best movie so far since Schindler's List 5 stars
7/25/02 Cizin IthoughtitwasCanadianswhocaputerdthesubbutwewereunderbritiansruleatthetimeright 4 stars
6/30/02 Fredrik One of the very best WWII-films ever!!! 5 stars
4/29/02 Monster W. Kung Sucks. 1 stars
4/23/02 Charles Tatum Clicheed but enjoyable. 4 stars
4/08/02 Plexo movie blew monkey nuts. Writers apear to have been retarded. 1 stars
3/31/02 Marcus Did anyone else fight in WW2? So much for the true heros of the Royal Navy & the truth... 1 stars
2/20/02 Nevz Yet another example of the Yanks trying to rewrite history 1 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Quite clever. Nice special effects. 4 stars
11/27/01 sdfr kick ass! 4 stars
11/26/01 Jake Intense and thrilling. 5 stars
8/28/01 Phil M. Afficianado Not bad, really, but don't you get tired of the same chaotic scene 10 times over? Skip it. 3 stars
8/08/01 badfish Excellent,great story,great picture,awesome sound. 5 stars
7/31/01 Matthew Bartley No suspense, no accuracy...no anything 1 stars
7/03/01 Piz Ultimate guy flick complete with load bangs, action, and underdog rooting 4 stars
6/07/01 Peter Brook Good sense of timing from Mostow, nice special FX, it's a very predictable story, though. 4 stars
6/06/01 destney you are awsome not you suck 5 stars
6/01/01 sabrinacardin she thinksyour cool 2 stars
5/27/01 Dean Like Hollywood didn't insult the UK enough with The Patriot. This movie is pure feces. 1 stars
3/25/01 Big Blackie Fuckin' cool movie!! Depth changes were awesome! A must see!! 5 stars
3/12/01 Stuart Wright Is it just make up history time. Shall britain make a film saying we droped the atom bomb. 1 stars
2/24/01 jeroen Saw it yesterday......it's about boots or somethin,isn't it? 1 stars
2/05/01 Classicdog Suspense,action, depth charges, what a great sub. film. 4 stars
2/02/01 Matthew Bartley Think I'll make a film about the first moon landings starring Hugh Grant and Jude Law... 1 stars
1/23/01 scorekeeper Great movie, but can be very confusing. 4 stars
1/08/01 Jessica it was sooo good. Matthew McConaughey is do fucking hot!! 5 stars
12/10/00 BrittenysPears I wasen't looking for a history lesson here - the movie is very entertaining!!! 5 stars
11/30/00 Winston Churchill You know it was the U.K. who retrieved the Engima? This was like a bad A-Team adventure! 1 stars
11/19/00 Nick Exciting, Suspenseful, Rent it You wont' regret it 5 stars
11/05/00 Dave Great movie! McConauhey gives an exceptional performance 5 stars
10/18/00 Gremlin Kick ass movie, ther were a few parts that were a little fucked up but over all very neato 5 stars
10/16/00 Jack Laller great movie 5 stars
10/11/00 Monday Morning So you like "made in El-Kabong Hong Kong" action flicks better? This is great. 5 stars
8/14/00 Chickiepoo Long live Jon Bon Jovi!! Too bad he ws in this waste of film. Stoners SUCK! 1 stars
7/18/00 Matthew Bartley The USA did steal an enigma-but not until 3 years after the film! Utter shite 1 stars
7/11/00 pancreas great movie, i docked it one star because there were no naked chicks 4 stars
5/22/00 Obi Wan Defn8ly a guy flik!! Action,shit blowin' up, death...what more could you want? 4 stars
5/21/00 gwalla Top-notch suspense.The USA stole an Enigma too. So it's not 100% accurate, it's fiction!!! 5 stars
5/20/00 Steve Kelley I'm a guy. Bombs, water, fear, heroism, loudness. The formula works for a reason. 4 stars
5/13/00 JJF Falsifies history without batting an eyelid. Don't support this crap. 1 stars
5/12/00 Add It shits on the good soilders who died for our freedom. I urge u not to c this! 1 stars
5/09/00 Travis good action, predictable story 4 stars
5/04/00 tony just wanted more at the ending. there wasnt enough closure. 4 stars
4/30/00 Heather Another titanic movie that pisses around with the truth 1 stars
4/29/00 Ayesha Cross Regardless who actually happened, America always won the war - what bullshit! 1 stars
4/26/00 Matthew Bartley Fucking disgusting. This was a British operation it was 7 months later when USA entered war 1 stars
4/26/00 Marcus West Does abyone care for historical facts in this BS of a movie? 1 stars
4/26/00 XT Wanna see this one on DVD. Maybe it'll make a li'l more sense. Very interesting, though. 4 stars
4/24/00 PhilmPhreak A bit obvious, but damn good - excellent sound! 4 stars
4/24/00 Captain Highcrime Good for action but don't be basing any college history papers on this one. 4 stars
4/24/00 Matt Sabian Excellent!!!! A Das Boot contender! 5 stars
4/24/00 Maclay01 85db volume required the director - the theatres listened and the audience covered our ears 4 stars
4/24/00 Obi Wan Best flick I've seen in a awhile...it did entertain and had it's moments. Worth admission 4 stars
4/24/00 bobber Not a bad movie, but didn't know who Jon Bon Jovi was either. 4 stars
4/24/00 Negative Much better than given credit for. That says alot. Good film. 4 stars
4/23/00 Kevin Cho, movie-buff Absolutely NO character development - everything else was ripped off. POOR. 2 stars
4/23/00 Becky Read the book. All the heart and humor was cut out with Pete Emment's lines (Jon Bon Jovi). 3 stars
4/23/00 Matt It kept me in suspense. The acting was a little wooden at times, but overall it was good. 4 stars
4/23/00 Gavin Moore Any good American will love this, a throwback to 80's action films 4 stars
4/22/00 photogeek did they steal actual footage from Das Boot and make it suck? 2 stars
4/22/00 Z hey, it's more realistic than mission 2 mars... 4 stars
4/22/00 Matt Sabian Brilliant film, perfectly brought to life. End was a bit disappointing 5 stars
4/21/00 Joel Harwood is in tha house the peeps have spoken 1 stars
4/21/00 Joel Harwood Action with a predictable ending but what movie isn't 4 stars
4/21/00 Danny Sykes Predictable at times. Good twists in the plot 4 stars
4/18/00 Tony D'Amoto Pretty good action movie 4 stars
4/17/00 cofemug I laughed and laughed at the overall bad quality of the movie. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Apr-2000 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Oct-2000

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Apr-2000 (M)




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