“Hunter Killer” stars Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, Toby Stephens, and Michael Nyqvist. Releasing on October 26, 2018, the film is about a team of Navy SEALS and a submarine crew who set out to rescue the Russian President.
The film is directed by Donovan Marsh, and it is based on the 2012 novel, Firing Point, by Don Keith and George Wallace. If scary movies aren't your thing during the month of October, go for the alternative: action movies. Case in point, an action movie involving submarine battles and Navy SEALS. You’re probably wondering how I managed to see this film early before its official release. Well, it’s quite simple. My closest Marcus Cinema was hosting a special screening of the film for rewards members only. Since yours truly is one of the rewards members, I couldn’t resist missing this opportunity, so special thanks to the cinema as well as Summit Entertainment for hosting this event. This film has been on my radar since I saw the trailer for the first time, mostly because of the involvement of Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, and “Fast and Furious” producer Neal H. Moritz. For those who don’t know, Gerard Butler is still trying to put himself back on everyone’s map, with the results being mixed at best. His last film, “Den of Thieves”, which came out earlier this year, didn’t exactly impress a lot of critics, but it became a modest hit for the general public regardless. So now he’s hoping that his latest starring vehicle would copy that same success. Will it sink or swim? Let’s find out. As always, since this is an early review, I will try to keep it spoiler-free so that you can experience it for yourself over the weekend.
Like many other straightforward action films, the story had a basic and predictable narrative that relies more on the R-rated action and tension rather than character-driven moments and unique storytelling. This type of procedure can go in three different ways. It can wind up being an enjoyable two-hour thrill ride, an average lackluster, or both. To me, I’m somewhere down the middle. There weren’t a whole lot of moments that’ll attract those who wanted a well-written action thriller, but for what it is and what it’s trying to do, it was pretty entertaining. Despite the thinly written characters, the cast was likable enough to keep the submarine from sinking down to the bottom of the ocean. Gerard Butler was decent in his role as Commander Joe Glass, the commanding officer of the USS Arkansas. Gary Oldman also turned in a suitable performance as Admiral Charles Donnegan as well as Michael Nyqvist as the Commander of a Russian submarine (one of his final roles before his death last June). Another thing that was able to save most of the film was that director Donovan Marsh knows how to keep his audience engaged even though we don’t relate to the characters that much. There’s definitely plenty of tension-filled sequences that’ll have your eyes glued to the screen instead of your watches, especially the submarine scenes. They were nicely directed by Marsh without the annoying uses of the shaky cam maneuver and the irritating editing. If the characters were fleshed out a bit more, it would’ve made the sequences even more intense and real, but that’s just me. The story also had a surprisingly good message that everyone should relate to, but because I’m keeping it spoiler-free, I’m not going to tell you what it is. It’s something that you have to see for yourself.
Overall, “Hunter Killer” has enough material to please its intended audience, but that doesn’t mean it survived the torpedo blasts unscathed. The performances were decent and Donovan Marsh did an impressive job at keeping the tension going, but the film’s thin characters and straightforward plot may not sit well with some of the tougher critics. It’s the type of movie that you just sit back and enjoy despite its flaws, and that’s exactly what I did. Sure, there were a few things that I believe could’ve been portrayed better, but for what it’s worth, it was a fine watch. I took my mother to see it with me, and she liked it a bit more than I did, so I would consider that a win. Once again, I would like to give out my special thanks to Marcus Cinema and Summit Entertainment for hosting this special screening for me and the rest of the rewards members. You guys are the best. I would recommend this film to those who enjoy simplistic action thrillers as well as those who just want to see Butler command a submarine.