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The Russian Spy

The other day while watching Alien with the Commentary, I paid attention to Ridley Scott talking about the Russian Spy plot device. He says it's tedious and doesn't really add to the story. Not only do you have your real nemesis to fight, but you also have the plot complication of some guy on your crew who's not working for you but is impeding your plans. In Alien it was Android Ash. In The Hunt for Red October it was the cook.

I was reminded of Under Siege, a movie starring Tommy Lee Jones about a guy who makes his way aboard the USS Missouri disguised as a rock star entertaining the captain. With the aid of the commander, he takes over the ship and starts selling weapons to people in submarines.

This movie had its own Russian Spy plot complication: the cook. I thought that Steven Seagal's sub-plot of attempting to foil the piracy, mostly through his god looks and charm, is a distraction from the far more interesting main plot.

Comments

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porsupah
Dec. 22nd, 2016 06:27 pm (UTC)
I'm sort of conflicted on that. On the one paw, true, Alien would probably have been just as good a film without Ash complicating matters. On the other, it's not so unrealistic - there so often are unwelcome complications, though usually more nuanced than outright subterfuge.

By the same token, that's something I've enjoyed with certain anime - they're fine with leaving some plot threads unresolved, as life is wont to do.
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