In his new action thriller HUNTER KILLER Gerard Butler, as captain of a submarine crew, has to prevent the outbreak of the Third World War. This is just as stupid as it sounds. We reveal more about this in our review of the film.
The Plot Summary
Captain Joe Glass (Gerard Butler) is sent to the Arctic Ocean on a rescue mission for an American submarine in distress. He finds out that a Russian general is planning a coup of global proportions and has the Russian president in his power. With an elite unit of Navy SEALs, Glass sets out to rescue the kidnapped president and prevent a new world war from breaking out during the daring journey through enemy waters.
Movie explanation of the ending
If you look at Gerard Butler’s CV, you can’t help but feel for several years that the Scottish native has slowly but surely developed into a guarantor of less popular cinema fare. Excluding his involvement as a voice actor in the acclaimed “How to Train Your Dragon” films, all of his work since 2009’s “Law of Vengeance” has failed at the box office. And when – as in the case of “Olympus Has Fallen” – a film tries to become the exception to the rule (a third part is currently in the works), the critics throw up their hands. Now films like “Gods of Egypt”, “Geostorm” and “Criminal Squad” would all have been better off in the home cinema, but Butler is still cast. In the submarine actioner “Hunter Killer” he once again plays the leading role, patriotic to the core, in order to do nothing less than save the world from a third world war. Of course, that sounds pretty outrageous at first, but no more absurd than the plotlines of various other Hollywood blockbusters. “Hunter Killer” also fulfills its promise of the greatest possible stupidity quite quickly. The problem here is a completely different one: Like the weather disaster film “Geostorm,” in which Butler had to play the role of a highly intelligent scientist, “Hunter Killer” also consists primarily of dialogue. This was no different in the book “Firing Point” by the passionate submarine commander George Wallace and the journalist Don Keith, but there they still knew how to create gripping tension from it. Here the whole thing becomes monotonous and annoyingly slow – and the few action sequences look pretty silly, of all things on the high seas.
Ready to jump to save the world!
The film takes its title “Hunter Killer” from the ship model of the same name: The Navy refers to a Hunter Killer as one that is designed to destroy other ships. Most of the action takes place on such a hunter killer. And to make it look as real as possible, a huge submarine was recreated in a film studio, which, according to those responsible, even withstood the critical eyes of a Marine who couldn’t distinguish it from a real ship in photos. This faithfulness to the original ultimately means that the scenes in particular are particularly depressing, in which the crew simply shows themselves forming up on deck, going about their everyday lives and trying to get on each other’s nerves as little as possible in the cramped space. The fictional USS Arkansas, on which the character of Commander Glass played by Gerard Butler operates, radiates something oppressive through and through. At the same time, you could also capture the atmosphere on such a submarine in Wolfgang Petersen’s classic “Das Boot”. “Hunter Killer” does not offer any new insights in this regard. But if you have to give the film one thing, it’s the undeniable quality of the tactile sets. Especially in comparison to the special effects, which in most cases obviously come from the computer, the handmade look immediately stands out in a positive way. Of course, this reflects even more negatively on the CGI; The underwater explosions in particular could just as easily have come from a 1990s computer game.
With the submarine theme, director Donovan Marsh (“Con Game – Know Your Enemies”) at first glance a real ace up the sleeve. After all, the articles in which such a vehicle is the focus of an action thriller can be counted on two hands. But the script by Arne Schmidt (“Out of control”) and Jamie Moss (“Ghost In The Shell”) makes nothing of this premise from two perspectives. When narratively important parts of the action take place on deck, the action is usually limited to conversations that take place partly on board and partly on land, to which the director cannot give a damn. Instead, he just keeps cutting back and forth between both parties; and since the script can’t even begin to match the intensity of the novel, all of these discussions are just incredibly boring. On the other hand, the few successful action sequences are always the ones that don’t take place on the ship, but on land. That actually makes it quite absurd, because if you have such an exciting set piece like a submarine, then perhaps you should also use it for those same scenes, which is why “Hunter Killer” is marketed under the genre name “Action”. Donovan Marsh’s film is one thing above all: talkative. This is likely to annoy the viewers who were hoping for a real ruckus from this, as described in the trailer. Lovers of psychological war fare, on the other hand, don’t get a serious contribution to the genre with the sometimes ultra-clunky dialogues.
Only a top team of Navy SEALs can undertake this mission: Johnstone (Ryan McPartlin).
Last but not least, it doesn’t help at all: in the case of “Hunter Killer”, Gerard Butler once again proves to be a less than ideal choice. Only this time he’s not solely to blame, but the weak script with an even weaker characterization does everything it can to put obstacles in the way of the undoubtedly committed actor. Above all, Butler’s character lacks one element that is quite important for this film: his Captain Glass, who naturally puts himself in the service of his country, is simply completely unsympathetic in his lack of sensitivity to human needs and his sole concentration on the mission. Unlike Peter Berg’s cleverly thought-out action thriller “Mile 22”, this has no hidden meaning whatsoever. Here it simply ensures that you don’t just ask yourself who came up with the idea of making such an egomaniacal naval officer, who is never attuned to the needs of his crew, the captain of such a dangerous mission. In addition, there is simply nothing that would qualify him to be the main character in a film for almost two hours. Apart from his professional competence, he simply doesn’t matter. And so it happens that “Hunter Killer” is never able to exploit its drama potential (after all, the outbreak of a third world war is imminent). Because who are you supposed to root for when the only significant identification figure among the many completely pale supporting characters (no matter how well cast they are with Gary Oldman, Common and Michael Nyqvist) turns out to be the most unpleasant fellow on the whole ship!?
Conclusion: In the novel, the heated conversations in “Hunter Killer” result in highly dramatic moments. In the film adaptation of the same name, this only results in yawning boredom. Furthermore, the action looks miserable in many places and you just can’t believe Gerard Butler as the smart captain.
“Hunter Killer” can be seen in USA cinemas from October 24th.