Remember the first of the two movies about the White House having taken over by a terrorist siege? No, not White House Down with Channing Tatum, that one was ghastly. The one with Gerard Butler. Hunter Killer is a lot like that in that while no one should ever confuse it with Oscar-level artistry, it is a solid way to be entertained for a few hours.
After both American and Russian submarines go silent after satellites detect large explosions, Captain Joe Glass (played by Butler) is assigned to take his submarine into the Baltic Sea to find out what’s happened. After getting into a shooting match with another submarine they manage to help piece together (with help from intelligence reports from Washington) that Russian Defense Minister Dmitri Durov (played by Michael Gor) has taken President Zakarin (played by Alexander Diachenko) hostage in a coup to start World War III. A special forces team is sent in to help facilitate the extraction (including Toby Stephens and Michael Trucco).
It’s not Das Boot (but then nothing else can compare), but neither is it Hunt for Red October or Crimson Tide. That said it’s not that far off of those latter two films, either. There’s some decent character work by Butler and Michael Nyqvist as Russian submariner, Captain Andropov. There’s some elements that are played fast and loose (most notably the length of time it takes to sail from one location to another in a submarine, but then with the rate of speed that Ravens can fly in Game of Thrones, this is positively snail’s paced by comparison).
The pace moves along, one doesn’t look at their watch nearly as often as it’s been happening with recent longer films. The action is solid, the direction by Donovan Marsh works and has a few solid action sequences. There’s a bit of over reliance of stock carrier battle group footage (courtesy of the U.S. Navy who helped extensively in the technical advisor department), but’s forgotten about within a few minutes once we’re back with Glass and his crew as they thread through a mine-filled waterway.
Great? No. Perfectly entertaining and worth a price of admission? Without a doubt.
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