Phips’s review published on Letterboxd:
I vaguely recall that when Master and Commander was first released over 15 years ago that it wasn't being received too warmly—or so I think. At this point I'm not too certain but, either way, that preconceived notion has kept me from watching this for all those years. However, within the last year, I read somewhere or heard somewhere that this film was actually good. So, into the watchlist it went. Unfortunately this epic is a bloated 140 minutes and I don't like films over 2 hours in length. Yet, I had a bunch of free time today so it was as good of a day as any other to check out this one.
Master and Commander is fine. Russell Crowe is good and there's some good action in it; it's like a (way) lesser version of Fury Road, but at sea. the most interesting part is that it showcases a period of time that is not often committed to film. Aside from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise I couldn't tell you what the last popular "sea battle" film is. As such I was drawn in by this aspect of the film and that was really the main draw.
There were definitely periods of the film that could've been trimmed out to make the runtime far more favorable whilst not losing any key plot points or story development.