Rob Reviews "Hunter Killer"
“Hunter Killer” is one of those films that is difficult to review for me. I cannot review it as a film critic, but I also know that it is important for me to give my opinion on it. With two screenwriters that adapted a book written by two other people bring along with it a director that has not had a splash in America in Donovan Marsh, one could be a bit concerned. But balance that with a cast that includes Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, and the late Michael Nyqvist, there is a balance of interest here.
Here is what you need to know: after an American and Russian sub go missing off the coast of Russia, Captain Joe Glass (Butler) is asked to captain the submarine Arkansas to investigate. When they find out that something has sunk them both with only three of the Russian crew surviving including Captain Andropov (Nyqvist), they end up on a secondary mission to sneak into a Russian military compound to help a group of soldiers rescue the Russian President (Alexander Diachenko) after he is the victim of a coup by one of his top advisors, Admiral Durov (Michael Gor). From issues of trust to the dangers they face, the teams are confronted on every level from every side as the Pentagon watches on including RA John Fisk (Common), CJCS Charles Donnegan (Oldman), and NSA agent Jayne Norquist (Cardellini), knowing they are on the brink of war.
OK, so you know that thing where you are up at three in the morning clicking around the channels and wind up on a deep pay channel where a movie that has an interesting title comes up that you end up sitting through and don’t regret the two hours you spent watching it? That is really the only way I can express my feelings about “Hunter Killer”. There is the feeling that this was a story that was written in the late ‘80s (even though the book, “Firing Point,” was written in 2012) and just floated around until someone updated the tech and put the script out there. I mean from the dialogue (the scene where Glass and Andropov have their first meaningful conversation is a wonderful example of this) to the way the action unfolds and even the visuals made me constantly looking for any combination of Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, and Michal Dudikoff, there is no way that this was not what the filmmakers were going for and did so without ever crossing the line into parody. Oldman chews scenery like it’s family night at the buffet, Butler was itching to say “THIS IS RUSSIAAAAAA!” visibly, and I felt like I could even point out a handful of moments where the cast would burst into laughter just after reading the lines.
And you want to know the crazy part? Just like that example that headed up the last paragraph, I don’t want those two hours back.
Sure, there was fifteen to twenty minutes (all in the last act) that could have been trimmed back, but this movie could easily fall into the category of “guilty pleasure”. Butler’s work in “Den of Thieves” earlier this year I still feel is a better film, but this is by far not anywhere near the bottom of my list for 2018. I am not sure that this deserved a theatrical release, but it would be fun to gather up a group of friends for Guys’ Movie Night on a decent home theater system to fire it up and simply watch the testosterone flow through the room.