‘Hunter Killer’ is one of the most forgettable films I’ve seen in quite some time. So forgettable that I actually forgot I saw it until this morning when I was looking through IMDB at the latest film news. It doesn’t help that I also saw ‘Eighth Grade’ and ‘22 July’ (two vastly superior films) since I saw ‘Hunter Killer’. Those two were a few of the best I’ve seen in a while and ‘Hunter Killer’ is easily the worst.
I should have known it would be bad going into it. It’s hard to place a good Gerard Butler movie outside ‘300’ or ‘How To Train Your Dragon’. I’m sure there was one, but I can’t remember it. And the funniest part of it is that he’s not a bad actor. He’s not bad in ‘Hunter Killer’. The dialogue he’s given is pretty weak, but his performance is strong for what it is. Which is basically a submarine captain barking orders and making speeches.
The story in ‘Hunter Killer’ is basically just a series of actions by players who’s motivations are less clear than most characters in bad video games. Russians blow up an American sub after someone blows up their sub. Then some soldiers and another sub are called in to figure out what happened. In Washington, a slew of decent actors (Gary Oldman, Linda Cardellini, Common) are making decisions and finding out about a ridiculous plot to overthrow the Russian President. Most of the action is in the submarine though and with the soldiers sent to free the Russian President.
The biggest problem with this film is that nobody in it gets any back story. We know that Gerard Butlers captain had something bad happen on a previous ship, but that’s it. We know the general who tries to start a war doesn’t like America or what Russia is currently doing, but we have no idea why. We know nothing about the soldiers on the mission or the sailors in the submarine. There’s not even an obligatory back story scene for one random character or some silly game they are playing to establish their interests. They are all just soldiers, sailors, or diplomats. Add the weak dialogue, along with the terrible visual effects, and it’s hard to give a damn about anything that happens.
Now, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing in the film that’s worth watching. The events that take place are actually a bit entertaining and the flow of the film mostly works. It does eventually wear out its welcome, but you will at least avoid boredom most of the film. So, if you really want to see this for some reason then wait for the Redbox. Everyone else should just skip it all together.