Submarine movies are an odd animal. They can be effectively chock full of tension, but they’re as constricted as their surroundings; even in crackling fare like ‘The Hunt For Red October’ and ‘Crimson Tide’, the memorable scenes are the ones in which the players are fearfully silent.
‘Hunter Killer’ attempts to buck the trend by meshing an underwater yarn with a daring navy SEALs rescue on land. Director Donovan Marsh and screenwriters Arne L. Schmidt and Jamie Moss, in adapting a 2012 novel titled ‘Firing Point’, pile a whole heap of stuff on here, hoping to hit the jackpot in the action department. Unfortunately, a large portion of the aforementioned stuff includes cliches…. so many cliches that, in an old fashioned staredown between U.S.A. and Russia, you’re just waiting for someone to go after “mooose and sqvir-rel”.
The film stars Gerard Butler, taking another valiant shot at an American accent. Butler plays the sub commander that everyone questions (“This is absurd!” is a common response from his crew, with a close second, “You’ll be court-martialied for this!!”), yet that half-smirk says hero – even though he doesn’t get to do the heavy lifting in this flick.
Here’s the deal; a vicious coup against the Russian President has Butler’s character coordinating a rescue mission which takes efforts from the U.S.A. on sea AND on land. Much of the adrenaline – predictably- lands in the laps of the SEAL team, though it’s a close race in ferocity with those gun-toting chaps and war-loving admiral Gary Oldman, who chews a ton of scenery here with some rather epic screaming rants.
‘Hunter Killer’ isn’t a bad movie….in fact, it’s very entertaining, what with torpedoes seeking targets, underwater explosions, giant subs breaking the water’s surface, etc., etc…..there’s just nothing new here. As far as ideas go, the air inside Butler’s ride is probably fresher than this.