Cast: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Zane Holtz
Director: Donovan Marsh
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: Deep under the Arctic Ocean, American submarine Captain Joe Glass (Gerard Butler, Olympus Has Fallen, 300) 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.
You know a film is not very good when not even the reigning Best Actor at the Academy Awards can save it. Hunter Killer is your standard poor-CGI, simple story action movie that probably would have bombed less if it was released in late July instead of late October. Regardless of when it was released, it does not make up for the lack of quality that exists in this movie. While I will give credit to the action scenes are a handful of them are actually pretty intense and enjoyable and the acting is poor and the story is not memorable in any way, leaving the audience neither excited nor disappointed about their viewing experience.
The film follows Commander Joe Glass (Butler) who has been appointed control of the USS Arkansas. After an American submarine is destroyed in Russian waters, it is up to Joe and his crew to figure out the root cause of the sub’s destruction while making sure they do not start a nuclear war in the process. Starting with the positives, I was impressed with how intense and exciting many of the action sequences were. Many of the action sequences are quite tense, especially the ones located in the submarine. You know pretty much from the start how these sequences will end, but the journey to get there is the part that can captivate a good chunk of the audience. These scenes translate out of the water too, as the land combat was much more interesting than I anticipated. Sure they face some of the pitfalls that most action movies face, but overall the main characters involved seemed to face an actual enemy with real consequences, which is a nice change of pace. Outside of those scenes though, the film is relatively generic and boring. Oldman’s performance is a little on the absurd side of things, but at least it is an attempt to do something other than the ordinary elder officer performance. Common does a generic, phoned in job and while his role is not essential to the story, it is a far drop off from his presence in The Hate U Give that happened not too long ago. I understand that I am probably not a part of the target demographic for this movie, but at the same time if the film had done anything relatively original with its plot, it could have ended up being more successful than what we got on our screens. A good action movie will have something that everyone can enjoy, and while some of the action sequences might intrigue audiences that are not traditionally a fan of these types of films, the plot and acting are nothing special and do not stand out in the grand scheme of action movies. This movie appears to be bombing pretty hard financially, and I think this is the audience trying to send a message to future film financiers. While generic movies are traditionally a safer financial investment, I think what audiences would really love is an action movie that shakes things up a bit and takes a few risks. This is not the film that audiences are eagerly awaiting for and while maybe one day we will get that movie, that day is not today.
Overall, when I say that Hunter Killer is generic, I do not mean that it is bad. More so that we have seen movies like this churned out like they are on a conveyor belt with no real care or distinction given to it. I enjoyed elements of it, but ultimately this is the type of movie that I would expect Gerard Butler to be in. Maybe these problems will be fixed in a future production, but until then all we can do is hope something changes.
Overall Score: 4/10