Blu-Ray Review: Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘K-19: The Widowmaker’

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CHICAGO – Her ceiling-breaking Oscar win for Best Director and Best Picture for “The Hurt Locker” is likely to send many movie watchers into the back catalog of the great Kathryn Bigelow, a fact that has driven Paramount to release her least accomplished film, the truly mediocre Harrison Ford vehicle “K-19: The Widowmaker” on Blu-ray. Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0

Those of you new to the world of Kathryn Bigelow, a director who did not merely become great with last year’s Best Picture winner but has been an expert action director for years, should check out one of the best vampire movies ever made in “Near Dark,” take a trip to the underrated “Strange Days,” and enjoy the guilty pleasure that is “Point Break”. Even “Blue Steel” is worth a look.

K-19: The Widowmaker was released on Blu-Ray on May 4th, 2010.
K-19: The Widowmaker was released on Blu-Ray on May 4th, 2010.
Photo credit: Paramount

Then you can get to “K-19,” a film that’s not necessarily “bad,” merely lacking in the personality of Bigelow’s other films. Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson star as Russian submarine officers at the height of the Cold War in this 2002 action flick, one that makes a decent addition to an action fan’s Blu-ray collection but only after they’ve bought a few hundred superior titles.

K-19: The Widowmaker was released on Blu-Ray on May 4th, 2010.
K-19: The Widowmaker was released on Blu-Ray on May 4th, 2010.
Photo credit: Paramount

My opinion that the film is as mediocre as when it bombed in 2002 is clear, but the Blu-ray release assembled by Paramount actually isn’t half-bad. At least it comes with a few special features, unlike this week’s similarly “for action fans only” release of “Escape From L.A.” and the video and audio transfer are typically solid without being spectacular.

Official synopsis: “Inspired by a true story, “K-19: The Widowmaker” follows Captain Alexei Vostrikov (Harrison Ford) who, at the height of the Cold War, is ordered to take over command of the nuclear missile submarine K-19, pride of the Soviet Navy. His assignment: prepare the K-19 for sea and take her out on patrol - no matter what the cost. But problems with K-19 arise that may lead to a core meltdown and explosion that will certainly kill all aboard, and possibly trigger a nuclear war. In a daring act of heroism, Vostrikov must choose between his orders from the Kremlin and the lives of his men.”

Special features include:
o Commentary by Director Kathryn Bigelow and Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth
o The Making of “K-19: The Widowmaker”
o 3 Featurettes
o Exploring the Craft: Makeup Techniques
o Breaching the Hull
o It’s in the Details
o Theatrical Trailer HD

‘K-19: The Widowmaker’ is released by Paramount Home Video and stars Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, and Peter Sarsgaard. It was written by Christopher Kyle and directed by Kathryn Bigelow. The Blu-Ray was released on May 4th, 2010. It is rated PG-13. content director Brian Tallerico

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