“Hunter Killer” is a decent thriller about trying not to start World War III.
This won’t be hailed as one of the best submarine thrillers to date, but it is adequately intense. There’s something about that confined space and all that crushing water that pulls you directly into the action. The claustrophobia is real.
The plot is preposterous, sure. There’s a military coup happening in Russia and the Russian Defense Minister is attempting to start a war with America for reasons that are still unclear. Anyway, the Russians sink an American submarine and Gerard Butler is called in to clean up the mess, because if there’s one thing Gerard Butler knows it’s messes.
Butler is Joe Glass. He’s one of those submarine captains that just knows things, you know? Everyone else plays by the book, but Glass goes by his gut. He’s like an underwater Jack Bauer or something.
Glass and his crew must sail into Russia and attempt to stop the coup by bringing back the now imprisoned Russian President.
It’s all so far-fetched that when you take time to think about the actual events taking place it’s hard not to laugh.
However, these events are pieced together by some extremely intense action scenes as submarines and destroyers play war games. Torpedoes whiz by, minefields are skirted, and hull integrity is questioned. It’s all very exciting when you’re in the moment.
There’s very little depth to the story or the characters. Even Glass is a one-note dude who just does what a hero captain is supposed to do. But, there’s something to be said for a movie that keeps you genuinely entertained and guessing until the end.
Some of the set pieces where submarines are hunting each other are truly frightening. It’s interesting how the movie can build tension even though the characters in the sub can’t see what’s happening around them. Sound is key, and this movie has some great sound.
I will, however, take umbrage with this movie because of its misleading advertising. The posters clearly show the faces of Butler and Gary Oldman. This led me to believe that Gary Oldman was going to be the Russian submarine captain Butler would duel with. This isn’t the case. Instead Oldman plays a high-strung admiral that watches the battle from afar and yells at everyone. While Oldman is quite good at yelling I really wanted to see him play a Russian submarine commander.