Hunter Killer review by Bobby Blakey
It’s not often that we get action movies focusing on submarine battles, but when we do they have the chance to offer up some great action when done right. The latest Hunter Killer starring Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, Toby Stephens and the late Michael Nyqvist, but does it offer up anything worth going to war over or will it sink before it can surface?
Hunter Killer follows an American submarine Captain Joe Glass, deep under the Arctic Ocean, who is on the hunt for a U.S. sub in distress when he discovers a secret Russian coup is in the offing, threatening to dismantle the world order. Captain Glass must now assemble an elite group of Navy SEALs to rescue the kidnapped Russian president and sneak through enemy waters to stop WWIII. The trailers to this film didn’t do all that much to bring the excitement, but with the cast alone I was willing to give it a chance. While it is far from a perfect film when it works it is quite enjoyable, but when it doesn’t it struggles to stay afloat.
The first half of the film that sets up the story and introduces us to the characters is a bit klunky and never really packs the needed punch that the entire film needed to follow. Thankfully that is a small portion to and once it gets to the meat of the film it ended up working quite well. A lot of this is thanks to the cast which elevate the film as a whole. Butler is great here as always making you believe in his command of the vessel. The late Michael Nyqvist is good, but not given all that much to do sadly. The rest of the cast are good most notably all the actors portraying the various crew. Butler is great but without a crew you believe this kind of film just doesn’t work and they brought it together well.
The effects here work pretty well for the most part with the exception of a few moments. These are some of the most important parts as you have to buy into
the battles underwater just as much as those above. There is some great submarine action that was handled in an impressive fun way keeping the action aspect fully intact without it ever feeling slowed down or rushed.
If there was any other big issue outside of the slow start, the biggest for me came with the lack of Russian dialogue. For some strange reason they had all the Russian characters speaking English when in Russia talking to each other. It just made no sense and took me out of the concept and direction of the story. They could have easily implored that old school technique of the language starting in Russian and then dissolving to English to let the viewer know it is still Russian or even just used subtitles. This would have given the film more depth and a bigger scope to the Russian and American characters and countries themselves.
In the end this was a decent war flick that felt like something out of the 90s more so than a current film. I enjoyed it for what it was, but will admit that it felt more like a rental than a big screen feature. The visuals and submarine battles are no doubt better on the big screen, but the scope of the film never fully lives up to the size.
In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including commentary and a two part featurette on bringing this film to the big screen. Prepare to dive with Hunter Killer available now on digital, 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD from Summit Premiere, A Lionsgate Company.