All the way back in 1996 there was a generally (considered) unsuccessful little gem called Down Periscope starring none other than ‘Mr. Salad & Scrambled Eggs’, Doctor Frasier Crane…or as he’s known in the real world – Kelsey Grammer. With an abysmal rating of 12% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s safe to say this film wasn’t and still isn’t well received, even today despite it actually being quite an excellent film.
The story follows Lt. Commander Thomas Dodge (Grammer) who’s in line for a promotion to Captain, however to achieve this the conditional task is given to him to first take an old Diesel Submarine from the 1950’s (The Stingray) and use that submarine to attempt to launch a terrorist attack on various targets within the United States. If successful in destroying these targets – Dodge will be promoted to Captain and gets his own Nuclear Submarine.
Things, of course, turn out to be a lot more complicated than that since the officer in charge of War Games, Rear Admiral Yancy Graham (Bruce Dern) doesn’t like Dodge and will do anything to sabotage the mission for his own selfish reasons. As a result, Dodge is given the most incompetent, undesirable crew in naval history and sent out to take on his momentous task with the odds against him.
What makes this film great
Down Periscope has a certain charm to it that you either love instantly or hate forever. It’s moments of obvious slapstick comedy blend in well with its better thought through scenarios while ever keeping in mind that most of the film hinges on the characters themselves, they’re interactions and the depth of the story due to the film’s lack of different locations and scenery. Most of it takes place within the confines of a submarine after all.
The story has its moments of hilarity and you find yourself emotionally invested in what’s going on when things take a more serious turn. First, you find yourself laughing at them, then with them and then suddenly you find yourself rooting for them. Certain scenarios I could oddly enough relate to and then there’s a certain officer within the navy who actually went on record as saying that this film is actually 100% on point with its portrayal of life on a submarine. – Pretty cool huh?
The characters are memorable, more than memorable even. Everyone from the over zealous Martin Pascal (Rob Schneider) to Buckman (Ken Hudson Campbell) interact with such passion and flair that I found myself thinking fondly of the characters in this film, even now – a solid 16 years later. Every character has a background, a real personality and some depth, their all odd in some way too and that’s what makes this film work so well in my opinion. The characters and the way they conduct themselves around (and with) each other is what stuck with me long after the ending of this film.
Where are they now
It has to be noted that as great as his character was and as awesome as this movie is – it didn’t help Rob Schneider’s image or his career in any significant fashion since 16 years later he’s still more well-known as the guy who yells ‘You can do it’ in Adam Sandler movies. Schneider still struggles today to find his footing and has delivered an entire series of duds to the box office and seems to be hell-bent on continuing this trend, more recently in the form of ‘Norm of The North’. As of writing this he’s confirmed to be doing voice acting for the upcoming film ‘The Adventures of Panda Warrior’ and is listed as having some involvement with a 2017 title named ‘Sandy Wexler’.
The rest of the cast, however, moved on from Down Periscope to enjoy success throughout their careers with Kelsey Grammer still making appearances in film and voice acting now in 2016, Rip Torn obviously already having been a well-established actor at the time just went on to do more of the same, Lauren Holly still continues to enjoy success on both the small and silver screens and William H. Macy does what he does best – portray Frank on Shameless.
This film is awesome and you should ignore the critics and negative opinions about it because these people don’t know what they’re talking about. This film is fun, funny, serious, has great characters and a great story and quite frankly it’s a hell of a lot better than some of the crap which is undeservedly acclaimed as great these days.
There’s even a fun soundtrack featuring The Village People – quite honestly, how can you even not love this movie?
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