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U-571 (PG-13, 2000) ... Average: 3.17
(Matthew McConaughey, Jon Bon Jovi, Bill Paxton, David Keith, Harvey Keitel)

Amy Domenick
Very good action flick. I will admit that I was not interested in seeing this, but my husband bought the tickets without my knowledge and I really liked it. Edge of my seat and best of all, it wasn't too long - exactly two hours.

Chris Mal
U-571 is a World War II submarine thriller about a group of young men on a mission that went terribly wrong faced with overcoming extraordinary odds.

U-571 The U.S. crew of the submarine S-33 are deployed on a top secret mission to intercept a disabled German U-boat - the U-571 - steal the ship's encryption system and then sink the German submarine as if they were never there.  It doesn't quite work out as planned, and that is all I will say so as to not give away the story.  The movie is extremely suspenseful, and keeps you glued to the edge of your seat for its entire length.

Knocking this movie down one minor notch was the typical flaws of just about every action flick - there were times when the likelihood of some of the things that happened here were a bit of a stretch.  You know the routine: Germans shoot a dozen times, miss every time.  We shoot once, hit dead-on.  I also question how realistic the patching of their leaks was.  There was one scene in particular when the entire sub seemed to breaking apart one minute, springing leaks in pipes all over, and then the next minute everything was fine.  Anyone who has fixed a water leak knows it just isn't that easy, and I'm guessing it doesn't become any easier when you are in a WWII submarine 200 meters below the surface of the ocean.

All in all, however, the action and suspense of their situation made those things fairly easy to overlook.  U-571 isn't the greatest of ever by any stretch, but it's an enjoyable movie.  Recommended.

(Side note, I had totally forgotten that Jon Bon Jovi was in this movie until I went to write this review.  I don't even remember which one he was, which is probably a tribute.  If I didn't even notice that it was him, clearly he did a good job of acting.)

D. A. Barrett
The cracking of the enigma code played an integral part of the allied war effort of World War II.  The Germans had developed and nearly perfected a code machine capable of sending accurate messages swiftly without fear of interception due to it’s complexities.  It was important for the allies to not only get their hands on an enigma code machine but to decipher its ever-changing code.

U-571 builds its premise around this exciting and disturbing event but the film, itself, is anything but exciting.  It merely attempts to ride on the coattails of other submarine films such as The Hunt For Red October and Das Boot, including all of the suspense devices that it can squeeze into its 2 hours.

Matthew McConaughey plays Lt. Tyler, an ambitious young marine officer wanting his own naval commission.  ‘Not-so-fast’ says his Captain (portrayed woodenly by Bill Paxton).  Apparently Tyler would not be capable of making the tough decisions, risking lives for the mission or the greater cause.  Disappointed, Tyler wonders what his next mission will be, succumbed to the thought that he will forever be a submarine’s second in command.

But this is WWII and his next mission is revealed quickly – to disguise their US submarine as a German submarine, find another German submarine stranded somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, pretend to be Germans, board the real German submarine, steal their enigma machine and get out of sight before the real Germans arrive.  But the catch is to ensure that the Germans remain completely unaware that the enigma machine is gone.  Otherwise, the Germans will abandon its use.

Through a course of events including submarines catching on fire, going far beneath its depth capabilities, and continuous carpet bombings, Tyler is forcibly given his own command.  Will he have what it takes to be a submarine captain?  Will he be able to risk lives for the sake of the greater cause?

More bombs, more fires, more plummeting submarines and – yes – an opportunity to send a man to his death are soon to follow without surprise.  As an audience, we are asked to feel for the officers who are risking life and limb for truth, justice, and the American way.  It is an almost impossible feat with U-571 as the characters are simply used as plot devices for the film.  If the producers wanted to reach the success of Red October or Das Boot, they should have realized that it is the boat that is the plot device and it is the characters that provide the story – not the other way around.

The film fails as it is simply bland and unoriginal in its character development, or lack thereof, and its action sequences.  But more importantly, and more shamelessly, is that it rewrites history without embarrassment or concern.  Although it mentions in its end credits that this was a work of fiction, it still gives the impression that these events at least bordered on accuracy. 

The enigma machine did exist and was captured by the British forces.  The British were also able to board a submarine and steal an enigma code book.  And the British were eventually able to crack the enigma code.  Certainly, these events could be made into an exciting film, not just one which is merely watchable.