April 12, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Geek Review: Hunter Killer

An American sub captain is sent on a dangerous mission to avert a war with Russia in this action thriller.

A friend and co-worker is a former Navy submarine officer, and when I told him I planned to see the new Gerard Butler action flick Hunter Killer this weekend, his reaction was rather underwhelming.  Oh, it wasn’t because of the almost certain unrealistic depiction of life on a submarine.  It was because he thinks of Gerard Butler as a cheaper version of Russell Crowe.

I prefer to think of him as Discount Hugh Jackman.

The movie begins with tensions between the United States and Russia over expansion in the Arctic Circle.  An American sub is following a Russian sub when something happens and both go down.  There’s the possibility of a rescue, so that means the closest sub, the USS Arkansas under new captain Joe Glass (Butler) is on the way.  There’s also a Navy SEAL recon team sent in separately, and it looks like some kind of coup might be happening.  Meanwhile, back in Washington, hawkish Admiral Donnegan (Gary Oldman) is making steps to possibly go to war while another officer (Common) is pushing for a more risky option.  What option is that?  Well, the trailers gave that away, but that’s not for me to say at present.

So, here’s the thing: given the presence of both Butler and Oldman, why wasn’t there more scenery chewing?  Oldman, who actually isn’t in the movie all that much as he, Common, and Linda Cardellini’s NSA adviser are watching everything from a distance, does go a little over the top, but Butler plays Glass, a man who apparently rose to his current rank from the bottom without going to Annapolis, fairly straight with only the occasional hint of humor.  There actually are some rather effective action scenes, including one particularly tense scene involving a mine field, but then something happens in the end that knocked out my suspension of disbelief.  Much of the rest is a fairly fun, dumb action movie that you shouldn’t take seriously for a single minute.  That said, the late Michael Nyqvist gives the movie some gravitas as a Russian submarine captain.

Anyhoo, while there were a number of moments that actually had the tension get to me, ultimately the ending that robbed me of my suspension of disbelief brought much of the movie down for me.  I’ll put up a SPOILER STUFF special to say why later.  As for Hunter Killer, let’s say 6.5 out of 10 so-so CGI torpedoes.