Starring Gerard Butler, Common, Gary Oldman, Linda Cardellini, Michael Nyqvist, Carter MacIntyre, Shane Taylor, Michael Gor, Alexander Diachenko
Just what we need, a submarine action flick depicting Americans and Russians working together for the greater good. Hunter Killer is suspenseful for sure, but not very engaging, because it’s completely ludicrous. Nearly anytime you see Gerard Butler’s name on a movie, you better wait for matinee pricing or a dollar rental, otherwise, you are spending too much money on something of C grade quality or worse. Hunter Killer also marks the first on screen performance for Gary Oldman since winning his Oscar last year. This might be the most embarrassing and lazy post-performance win in recent memory. He is only on the poster and in a handful of scenes to add false prestige to the movie.
When an American and Russian submarine are sunk in the Baltic, the US Government goes into high alert, Defcon 2 to be exact. CJCS Charles Donnegan (Oldman) and RA John Fisk (Common) send in USS Arkansas out of Scotland to recon the damage and look for survivors. The sub has a new captain, the untested Joe Glass (Butler) who makes both the crew and Washington very nervous. What they find on the ocean floor is devastating, three Russians, including the Captain Andropov (Nyqvist) have survived and a Ku appears to be underway above ground. Glass will need the help of their enemy to survive the traitorous waters and rescue the Russian president who has been kidnapped before World War III ignites.
Hunter Killer is suspenseful for sure, but not very engaging, because it’s completely ludicrous.
I can admire Hunter Killer’s script trying to both continue the tradition of every single action movie out today using Russians as our enemies, because lets face it, they are. Hollywood certainly takes advantage of reality when choosing villains for Bond films, Mission Impossible, etc. Throughout history the trends of on screen villainous nationalities have mirrored the real world. I can also admire the story and book in which it’s based on tackling the concept of working with the enemy to succeed. Yet at the same time, Hunter Killer reeks of so much drivel it’s difficult not to laugh. Hunter Killer’s narrative splits three ways with the SEAL team on land, the Navy underwater and the politicians back home. Yet with all the characters played by talented actors the only depth you will find is the CGI submarine. Everyone is simply archetypal moving pieces on a familiar gameboard.
“It’s not about your side or my side. It’s about the future,” Butler says with the conviction of someone ordering lunch at a drive thru. Endless top named action director circled the project, but its landed in the hands of relative unknown Donovan Marsh whose is very equipped to take whatever orders the studios and producers pass along. Hunter Killer is very similar to Kursk, another submarine flick debuting later in the year. Kursk is a true story however, yet fails in the suspense department despite it honorable intentions. This says to me that the submarine film genre has little room left to go. In reality it’s very difficult to make a good film that is set on, in, or around the submarine because, obviously so much of the story is contained to one setting. Hunter Killer is intended to be nothing more than an action ride, a disposable war thriller that’s neither informative, meaningful or memorable.
Suspenseful but far from engaging