Story and characters are built up with uncanny shrewdness. It opens in Shanghai with a shore party of American gobs going whoopee in an enormous establishment of entertainment of various kinds, mostly a vast bar and many fluttering petticoats and kimonos.
Back to the ship some great views of a sub streaking out to sea at night in clouds of black smoke and weird light and water reflections. Sub is run down in a collision and goes to the bottom in 90 feet of water with all escape cut off, and here begins the sledge hammer situation that lasts to the finish. Finale is a whooping bit of flagwaving.
Kenneth MacKenna, as Chief Torpedoman Burke, does nicely with a heroic lead, but the punch of the acting is the surprise comedy bits of a number of minor characters. It is these touches and the grim comedy of the lines that lift the picture out of melodrama to an illusion of reality.