Hunter Killer is tense, as is common with claustrophobic submarine movies, but it's let down by a ludicrous plot. If you switch your brain off it's fine as a mindless action movie.
Submarine movies have an in-built tension due to most of the action being set in a claustrophobic, pressurised tube under the sea, one where silence is often demanded to avoid detection by the enemy.
‘Hunter Killer’ has that tension and it’s worth watching if you like that sort of thing, but it doesn’t have too much else to recommend it.
I won’t give away any spoilers other than to say the story revolves around a coup in Russia that involves the Russian president being taken hostage and it somehow turns out the Americans have to rescue him.
It’s all a bit predictable to be honest and Gary Oldman — an actor I generally rate highly — hams it up as the Chief of Staff who wants to confront the “Goddamn Ruskies” with a fleet, and Gerard Butler hams it up as the “thoughtful” submarine captain who wants to win the day with games of cat and mouse. Michael Nyqvist does a reasonable job as the Russian submarine captain though.
So how does it compare with other submarine classics such as ‘The Hunt For Red October’ and ‘Das Boot’ (which, I am reliably informed by a former submariner, is the most realistic submarine movie)?
Well, I don’t think it’s as good.
It sounds like I hated the film. I didn’t, not really. There is the aforementioned tension and as an entertaining watch — in a brain-switched-off sort of way — it’s not that bad.
I am however glad I only rented this film from Apple rather than buying it as I certainly don’t want to watch it again. I’ll give it a distinctly average 2.5 stars.