Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Hunter Killer: Film Review

Hunter Killer: Film Review

Cast: Gerard Butler, Michael Nyqvist, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardinelli
Director: Donovan Marsh

It's hard not to view Hunter Killer as the kind of film that wouldn't be out of place in the 1980s.
Hunter Killer: Film Review

A mix of submarine thriller, shoot-em-ups and improbable rescue, Hunter Killer's B-Movie vibe is one of solid, yet unspectacular fare that spools out almost like a game of submarine movie cliche bingo.

Butler is unconventional commander Glass, who's given the command of a ship after a US Sub goes AWOL tracking a Russian sub in foreign waters. Whilst initially, it's a rescue mission for the sub, thanks to a Russian coup, it soon filters out into a further rescue mission to save the Russian President (yes, echoes of the "Has Fallen" film series spring easily to mind).

But if this mission should fail, World War 3 could break out...
Hunter Killer: Film Review

Hunter Killer pulls the usual punches for the genre, though it's given a contemporary frisson with the Russians being the bad guys and the US facing off against them. In parts, it's the kind of film that US President Donald Trump could embrace in some ways.

To be honest though, Hunter Killer meshes Call of Duty, Lone Survivor, Has Fallen series and Hunt for Red October, and blends it all through a prism of army recruitment video. It's stock-standard fare that takes itself seriously, and ticks all the boxes.

Butler delivers his usual half-smirking performance, but there's an earnestness to his underwritten commander that's vaguely endearing. Nyqvist, in his final role, is utterly wasted, a sad farewell to a nuanced great.

The tension is largely missing throughout Hunter Killer, until a final act sequence brings together the inevitable consequences of everyone's actions and Marsh concentrates on delivering something solid, via repeated use of swirling cameras, cliches and military might.
Hunter Killer: Film Review

Sure, there's a case to say the Americans are painted in a positive light, and those damned Russians are tricky foreigners determined to powerplays over diplomacy, but Hunter Killer cares not for your sneering approach.

Instead it charts a course through familiar and formulaic waters, with only one course in mind - but it comes close to sinking in 2018, when it potentially would have risen to the surface in the 1980s.

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