In all honesty I was expecting Hunter Killer to be awful, so when I exited the film mildly amused at the mediocre actioner I had just witnessed I chalked it up to a relative win overall. Now, I can’t for the life of me remember a great deal of what took place over the course of the film’s 120-minute running time (forgettable this film is) but it proved investing-enough escapist entertainment throughout its duration.
A formulaic plot, a script filled with unnatural dialogue, and Gerard Butler doing his masc-Gerard-Butler-thing, Hunter Killer adheres to the conventions we’d expect, and its initially messy start threatens the worst. Once the unconvincing CGI passes and Butler’s deep sea captain Joe Glass is introduced, Donovan Marsh’s underwater thriller perks up with mounting action and suitable performances from an ensemble cast that deserve better but elevate what little they have to work with; Linda Cardellini as a National Security Agency analyst, Common as a Rear Admiral, and Gary Oldman as an Admiral ready for war just some of the impressive names on hand.
As to be expected Glass is a man that plays by his own rules, and when he’s called upon to assist an American submarine in locating another U.S. vessel that has gone missing during its mission shadowing a Russian sub, the popcorn entertainment begins to fly thick and fast as the Russian president becomes involved in a subplot involving his capture by a mutiny-seeking general.
There’s so much exposition taking place you’d be forgiven for losing track of which story to focus on, but honestly Hunter Killer is more invested in setting up nonsensical action sequences and genre-specific pro-America Oohrah than constructing a story that makes a lick of sense. To its credit, the film isn’t pretending to be anything other than what it is, and though it’s far too forgettable and underwhelming to be worthy of a cinema trip, if you came across this title whilst scanning your Netflix you’d be satisfied to tune in (and then tune out) and enjoy the ride while it lasts.