Greyhound was scheduled for a 2020 theatrical release, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic Sony ended up selling the distribution rights to Apple who debuted it on their streaming platform earlier this month. Written by and starring Tom Hanks who was vocally disappointed the film did not get released in theaters. Personally I’d like to see the studios step up and give some alternate distribution paths a chance. Given that a crowded indoor movie theater is probably the last place anyone wants to be right now, let’s see if there is a potential for first run blockbuster movies to do well with PPV or digital downloads.
We always keep these reviews as spoiler free as possible, but to be honest, there isn’t much to spoil. Running only 90 minutes and following what must be the most direct path from start to finish without much deviation or plot twists of any movie I’ve seen recently. I’m not saying it is bad, Agent P and myself both had a good enough time watching it, it is just a tad basic.
Hanks started the script in 2016 and was attached to star from the beginning. I’ll have to say that Mr. Hanks, while a fine actor and is in at least one movie on anyone’s Top 10 list, fell a bit short writing a compelling script. After the movie was over I turned to Agent P and said, Tom Hanks is to scriptwriting as Ron Howard is to directing. No mistakes are ever made, but the product lacks any real punch. For example, Elizabeth Shue (The Boys, Back to the Future II & III) plays Hank’s love interest and they have a brief scene prior to Hanks leaving for service. There’s some set up there, and the promise of a payoff possibly at the end of the story, but it is a loose thread left hanging by the end of the movie. In fact there are several instances of exactly that throughput the movie. Breadcrumbs leading you to think there is something more coming only to be left unfulfilled by the storyteller. In fact by the time the movie was over, I wasn’t even sure any resolution had been made. The outcome of this much vaunted ocean faring duel is left to you to just assume. I will give one MINOR SPOILER here, you never even see the enemy Hanks faces off with, EVER. Played by veteran bad guy Thomas Kretschmann (Baron Strucker from Age of Ultron) the best you get is a disembodied voice taunting our hero. I’m not sure if this almost textbook delivery of naval warfare was done on purpose, but the effect left no aftertaste…more like you consumed a bunch of nothing. You’re full, but can’t remember what you ate. The effects were amazing, you would have a hard time deciding which shots were green screen and which were shot aboard the USS Kidd that stood in for The Greyhound.
Even though it might not sound like it based on my review, the film was worth a watch. I applaud Sony for making the hard decision and getting the film released via streaming when general distribution proved impossible. Looking forward to other studios stepping up to give us something to entertain us while in viral exile.