It is December 9, 1989, eleven days before the invasion of Panama by U.S. forces. The story of this B picture is somewhat similar to THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, but the quality is inferior.
A group of Panamanian rebels help one of their government leaders escape from prison and head for the beach, where they are picked up by a U.S. nuclear submarine commanded by Captain MacKenzie. Since the Panamanian Defense Minister believes the Americans plan to invade soon, nuclear blackmail is used to discourage the attack.
This is accomplished by hijacking a Russian nuclear submarine and threatening to obliterate American cities unless the U.S. calls off its offensive. The game of nuclear blackmail becomes even more deadly when a radical Cuban officer, in league with the Panamanians, forcibly commandeers the Russian sub and begins to destroy every vessel in sight. Captain MacKenzie is called upon to neutralize the renegade Russian sub.
The excitement in FULL FATHOM FIVE is fair-to-good, helped along by the music which creates an ominous atmosphere of anticipation. The film presents the American military and political establishment in a more positive light than many of the left-leaning Hollywood offerings of late. The villains are drawn clearly (though thinly, due to the weak dialogue and script), and eventually good wins out over evil.
However, profanity is used regularly, and, being a military adventure, there are shootings, clubbings, knifings, explosions, and fist fights. Fortunately, these are not particularly bloody. One of the Panamanian rebels, a fiery, beautiful woman, presumably fornicates with Captain MacKenzie when she is shown with her breasts partially exposed having slept in the Captain’s quarters.
Several profanities and obscenities; shootings, knifing and other murders; and, brief partial female nudity.