Well, what can I tell you about this latest action movie Hunter Killer starring Gerard Butler as a submarine commander? I think you already know everything about it from that first sentence. Still, let’s have some fun and really dig into this commercial time-killer. I really cannot explain to you or myself, why I didn’t like this movie when it first came out. The best explanation that I could come up with was that my standards were significantly higher. We will be following a submarine commander with the most boring name ever, Joe Glass as he tries to prevent the start of WWIII between Russia and America. As you can notice, Hunter Killer is one of those movies that gained significance after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The story is, of course, utterly childish almost endearing American Cold War propaganda but it has an ominous atmosphere to it. Especially when you consider the fact that the person eventually (probably in the next century) replacing Putin might be someone like Admiral Dmitriy Durov. We will get back to these oftentimes hilarious themes when we get the formalities out of the way. So, with a budget of $40 million, Hunter Killer looks and feels like that big summer blockbuster. We’ve got a solid cast led by Butler and Toby Stephens whom I love seeing ever since I fell in love with Black Sails.
Despite its ominous title, there won’t be so much killing here and just a tad bit of hunting. The special effects are excellent and we will get a lot of cool underwater scenes of our submarine successfully avoiding mines and torpedoes. The story is so predictable and cheesy that it’s actually highly entertaining. The characters are caricatures making decisions you expect them to do. Among them our hero, Joe Glass stands tall and proud by always doing the right thing. We meet him in Scotland no lees where he’s out hunting deer using only a bow to make Joe Rogan proud. And just as he’s about to shoot it across a huge lake in an impossible shot, he sees his young and bails.
That kind of a man is our Joe Glass. The whole experience is also quite wholesome as it sends the universal message of peace and love despite the title of the movie, Hunter Killer. And no, there won’t be any robots here. Or Fear Factory songs. So, getting back to the theme of American propaganda, I love how their representation of the Russian people remained the same throughout the decades. Their submarines look like they’re from the fifties and their soldiers are literally wearing Halloween sailor-striped shirts. It’s eighter Halloween or that night when you decide to spice up your sex life on a budget. And don’t ask me how I know that.
There’s something strange going on in the Russian waters. An American submarine was shadowing a Russian submarine when both of them simply disappear from the radar. Fearing the worst, the American government promptly sends commander Joe Glass in his Hunter Killer submarine to investigate. They also dispatch a covert ground team to find out what it can do before the situation escalates. And it escalates almost immediately pushing the world to the brink of WWIII. Luckily, Joe Glass is here to save the day.
What’s your favorite submarine movie? Mine is The Hunt for Red October, an early nineties masterpiece starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin. The story is awfully similar to Hunter Killer’s only less commercial and cheesy. Although that might be just my childhood talking. After that gem, we got two okay movies in the early 2000s in K-19: The Widowmaker and U-571. I guess that was our submarine name in the title phase. Apart from those two movies, I would also like to mention Below, a much spookier movie with the same setting. Finally, if you’re a fan of Butler as a commander of big hunks of metal, check out Plane.
Director: Donovan Marsh
Writers: Arne Schmidt, Jamie Moss, George Wallace
Cast: Gerard Butler, Toby Stephens, Michael Nyqvist, Common, Gary Oldman, Linda Cardellini
Fun Facts: Gerard Butler and director Donovan Marsh actually sailed aboard the USS Houston (SSN 713) for a couple of days to make the movie feel more authentic.