You don’t watch Gerard Butler action films for their Oscar-winning scripts, but for the bangs and crashes. And both Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen were bloody brilliant, so that gave me high hopes for this, as the Russian sub, an Akula class Konek vessel, is out and about under the sea, while the USS Tampa Bay, a Hunter Killer submarine, is gaining on it and ready to take it out without them even knowing, as long as someone else doesn’t get to them first, but an explosive situation is about to happen…
Commander Joe Glass (Butler) is called in to help solve the problem, and he gets to chew a lot of scenery with Russian Captain, Sergei Andropov, played by Michael Nyqvist in one of his final movie roles. He’s also in another submarine thriller, Kursk, which was first given a trailer release last September and still hasn’t yet managed to get a cinema release, with no precise date yet set. This is also one of the last films for producer John Thompson, who has worked on a ton of movies over the years, since 1981, and this also includes the forthcoming Hellboy reboot, but who also died recently.
Whether under or over water, this film brings us a lot of mumbling (put the subtitles on!). Meanwhile, Gary Oldman and Linda Cardellini – whose character has somehow got involved by accident, for a reason I neither no longer remember nor care – just stay back at their US government base, with one shouting a lot and the other mostly scowling a lot. Can you guess which does which?
Hunter Killer passes two hours without harm, but it feels a bit soulless, and what starts off feeling like a complex case ends up being more a basic case of Americans vs Russians, with a kidnapped Russian President and a team of US Marines trying to rescue him.
Crimson Tide and/or The Hunt For Red October, this is not. And it’s nothing we’ve not really seen before. If you have two hours and want something undemanding, you can try this. I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t a patch on either of Butler’s ‘Fallen‘ films, and had more obvious use of green-screen* than I’ve ever seen before.
(*Well, it’s blue-screen, now, but you get the idea)
The main extra is Surface Tension: Declassifying Hunter Killer (24:36) – a typical ‘making of’ which mixes clips and behind-the-scenes footage which chat from the cast and crew, which is split into four chapters. There’s also an audio commentary from director Donovan Marsh and an audio description track.
The menu features a short piece of music on a loop , set against clips from the film, the music not feeling like it had anything to do with this film and was just more a generic piece… unless the main score was so generic I didn’t realise that this WAS that score. Subtitles are in English and Spanish, and there 16 chapters, which are just a few more than the bog-standard 12 that most studios give us, although more is better.
Running time: 122 minutes
Released: February 25th 2019
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: English Dolby Atmos, Spanish DD5.1
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Format: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Donovan Marsh
Producers: Gerard Butler, Mark Gill, Toby Jaffe, Neal H Moritz, Matt O’Toole, Alan Siegel, John Thompson, Tucker Tooley, Les Weldon
Screenplay: Arne L Schmidt, Jamie Moss
Novel: Firing Point by George Wallace, Don Keith
Music: Trevor Morris
Commander Joe Glass, commanding officer of USS Arkansas: Gerard Butler
Admiral Charles Donnegan: Gary Oldman
Admiral John Fisk: Common
Paul Martinelli, U.S. Navy SEAL: Zane Holtz
President Ilene Dover: Caroline Goodall
President Nikolai Zakarin: Alexander Diachenko
Captain Sergei Andropov: Michael Nyqvist
Captain Vlade Sutrev: Ilia Volok
Defence Minister Dmitriy Durov: Mikhail Gorevoy
Tretiak: Igor Jijikine
Oleg: Yuri Kolokolnikov
U.S. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Bill Beaman: Toby Stephens
Jayne Norquist, National Security Agency senior analyst: Linda Cardellini
Chief of the Boat of USS Arkansas: David Gyasi
U.S. Navy SEAL: Gabriel Chavarria
Sonar Operator on USS Arkansas: Taylor John Smith
Devin Hall, U.S. Navy SEAL: Ryan McPartlin
Matt Johnstone, U.S. Navy SEAL and Team Medic: Michael Trucco
Medic Jones: Richard Hills Jr
Executive Officer Brian Edwards: Carter MacIntyre
Nichols: Kieron Bimpson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.