Greyhound Review: Tom Hanks Fights U-Boats In This Mediocre WWII Action Movie
Movie title: Greyhound
Movie description: Greyhound tells a story about inexperienced U.S. Navy commander (Hanks) on his first assignment in which he must escort an Allied convoy of ships across Atlantic in early 1942 while being hunted by German submarines.
Genre: Action, War
Greyhound is watchable but a very mediocre WWII action movie. With no character development and so-so action sequences, Greyhound doesn’t have much to offer. It feels like a TV movie made to watch on rainy Sunday when you don’t have anything better to do.
Director: Aaron Schneider (Get Low)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Elisabeth Shue
Greyhound, directed by Aaron Schneider and written by Tom Hanks is based on the novel The Good Shepherd by C. S. Forester from 1955. It tells a story about inexperienced U.S. Navy commander Ernest Krause (Hanks) on his first assignment in which he must escort an Allied convoy of ships across Atlantic in early 1942 while being hunted by German submarines. The movie was initially scheduled for theatrical release but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sony Pictures sold the distribution rights to Apple TV+ and the movie was released digitally on July 10, 2020.
Greyhound doesn’t waste much time and the action starts almost immediately. 8 minutes in and we are already in the middle of North Atlantic following Tom Hanks and his crew escorting this huge convoy consisting of numerous allied ships transporting goods and people. Hanks decided to focus only on the main event leaving any introductions to the characters except a short scene at the beginning of the movie with Hanks and his wife, played by Elisabeth Shue. There isn’t much drama or character development here and Greyhound is actually an action movie set in WWII. Besides Hanks, there aren’t any real characters here, just anonymous faces repeating orders. And even Hanks’ Ernest Krause isn’t especially well written. So it’s hard to get emotionally invested when you just don’t care for any of the characters in the movie.
As I said authors decided to focus on action mostly which is, in some cases, perfectly fine as we really don’t need one more mediocrely written action movie with dramatic scenes that actually lack any genuine drama or moments that were supposed to be emotional but they are not and don’t add to anything except extending the runtime of a movie. But in that case, action sequences should be well shot, tense, exciting, and pulse-pounding. Unfortunately, that is not the case with Greyhound. Action sequences are not bad but also aren’t anything special that we haven’t seen in other movies.
Most of the script is filled with Hanks and his crew watching the sea searching for German submarines and yelling commands. Actually, I would say 70% of dialogues are just repeating orders about degrees and rudders and Naval jargon. Let me give you an example.
Soldier 1: U-boat, 11 O’Clock!
Soldier 2: U-boat, 11 O’Clock!
Soldier 3: Captain, U-boat, 11 O’Clock!
And believe it or not, that is most of the dialogues in Greyhound. One more thing that annoyed me is obvious CGI in many scenes that really looked cheap and took me out of the movie and events happening on screen.
The movie would profit with a memorable villain, a well-written German captain who’s playing a game of cat and mouse with Hanks. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Actually we don’t see any of the enemies during the movie. We don’t know anything about them except they are really really evil. How do we know this? In a couple of scenes, you hear a transmission from the German U-boat commander to the Greyhound crew telling them they will all die ending with Nazi commander imitating wolf howl. I was just waiting for them to start laughing like Dr. Evil and his men to prove to us how evil they are :).
Look, Greyhound isn’t that bad like you may be thinking based on everything I wrote in this review. It’s actually a watchable war action movie that at 85 min runtime, doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. But it is a mediocre one that doesn’t offer anything new – it feels like a TV movie made to watch on rainy Sunday when you don’t have anything better to do. Too bad.
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