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April 27, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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April 27, 2000
 

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arts00 "U-571" Takes a Dive World War II action-adventure is high on thrills, short on story. By Ethan Bernard Just when you thought it was safe for "Saving Private Ryan" to go into the water, "U-571" came along. It's an adventure tale based so remotely on actual events, and so loosely on fact, it can be called pure fiction. However, as you ride with these American heroes fighting the Nazi toe, you might enjoy a few thrills along the way. Matthew McConnaughey is the Captain, a submariner who lacks the tough- ness, but not the skill, to be first rate. Harvey Keitel is "Chief", an old sailor well versed in the ways of the sea. Jon Bon Jovi doesn't have anything close to a pivotal role, but everyone mentions that he's in the film, so I won't quibble with them. The crew is on a secret mission to find a disabled Nazi submarine, overrun it, and steal the top secret Enigma code machine. They have to do it without the Germans finding out about it, so they will keep the same codes. Things go awry when another sub torpedoes their ride home, killing most of the crew. McConnaughey and eight other are left to bring the German sub and its secret cargo to safety. Left as captain, McConnaughey has to prove his met- tle under the sea. From a factual point of view, well, there isn't much of one in the movie. A German sub was seized, but much later in the war and in a completely different manner from the one depicted in the film. In World War II submarines did not fight other submarines underwater; they were simply not equipped to do so. An historian could probably fill a book with factual errors. However, these are factual concerns and this is Hollywood. If one suspends disbelief enough, even the submarine ride at Disneyland can seem real. Maybe. We would be willing to forget the realism if the story were compelling. That's hard when the script is littered with lines like McConnaughey's words to a crewman in a moment of crisis: "Do your job sailor." $The plot is filled with depth charges, wild maneuvers, and some undersea heroism, but comes up empty when it comes to any real substance.  The plot is filled with depth charges, wild maneuvers and some undersea heroism, but comes up empty when it comes to any real substance. McConnaughey and Keitel do what they can with the dialogue, but their best attempts can't surpass it's shortcomings.This can be summed up in Keitel's line after a particularly harrowing experience that the Germans can really build a boat. If only director Jonathan Mostow could've made a movie as well as the Nazis made their submarines. Ill / ! \\; 3/0.t75.9927 Do You Want to Work at The Beverly Hills Weekly? Gain experience in the news room Looking for an Editorial Intern Flexible hours Please fax resume to 310.887.0789 No calls please. People Assisting The Homeless PATH/Foundation House is a homeless empowerment agency, dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Volunteers Needed: Kitchen helpers Cook(sl for Salurclay Night dinners Volunteers to help teach Recreational Activities volunteer 2346 Cotner Avenue (2 blks west of Sepulveda between Olympic & Pico) 8 a.m.-6p.m, weekdays Weekend dropoffs are okay too. 310-996-0034 14 Beverly Hills Weekly