Coming to theatres from direction Donovan Marsh and Summit Entertainment is the military and political thriller of HUNTER KILLER.
When an American and Russian submarine vanish under the Arctic ice, Rear Admiral John Fisk (Common) and the President’s National Security Analyst Jane Norquist (Linda Cardellini) must discover what has happened. Reporting to Admiral Donnegan (Gary Oldman), Fisk tells him that he has a Hunter Killer available to go and look for the American submarine.
Commander Joe Glass (Gerard Butler) receives his orders to do just that, inform his crew of the mission and get under way. Admiral Donnegan wants boots on the ground as well so Fisk calls on Lt. Bill Bearman (Toby Stephens) and his group to get near the Russian base and keep them posted. Not there very long before Bearman discovers that the Russian President Zakarin (Alexander Diachenko) has been taken and the coup is led by Defense Minister Dmitri Durov (Mikhail Gorevoy) and he wants war!
Glass and the crew find the American sub and reports back to Washington, in the process they hear noises coming from the Russian submarine. Sending out a rescue they find the subs captain Sergei Andropov (Michael Nyqvist).
Now a new plan is in the works, for the sub and the Seals to free Zakarin and end the coup as quickly as possible. Durov isn’t about to let any of this happen without a fight but its one thing to fight in the Poliarny water base of Russia, it is another when that fight could start a war!
Butler as Commander Glass wastes no time in letting his crew know he understands where they are coming from but – that doesn’t change the fact that his word is law. He doesn’t ask of them anything he wouldn’t do (even though he’s pretty much done it) but sees the mission as one that needs them all to work together. Butler commands attention right away and doesn’t lose it the entire film. A believable commander to be sure.
Oldman as Admiral Donnegan is definitely a politician trying to make sure a war doesn’t start but knowing its going to take a little fight to make sure the American military isn’t taken for granted. Oldman looks good in a uniform and watches the drama unfold. Common as RA Fisk clearly knows the scenario they are playing out has a narrow margin in all phases of success but he also knows that the best have been sent in. The scene between Oldman and Common is complex and it works.
Stephens as Bearman is quite happy to take the next assignment to be dropped in Russia. With his crew, they get to Poliarny and take it all step by step which can be difficult when your dealing with a madman. Cardellini is Norquist is one smart cookie and she isn’t about to let anyone in the command room use their passive aggressive rank to stop her from doing not only her job, but what the president sent her to do.
Diachenko as Russian President Zakarin wants peace with the United States and is in shock that someone he trusts has turned on him and in the worst way. Gorevoy as Defense Minister Dmitri Durov is underhanded and doesn’t have a problem using bullets or missiles to get what he wants.
Other cast include Mikey Collins as Brickowski, Will Attenborough as Kaplan, Kieron Bimpson as Nichols, Christopher Goh as Park, Zan Holtz as Seal Martinelli, Igor Jijkine as Lt. Tretiak, Michael Trucco as Devin Hall, Richard Hills Jr. as Medic Jones, Yuri Kolokolnikov as Oleg and Carter Macintyre as Executive Officer Brian Edwards.
HUNTER KILLER is a mixture of four different stories. First is Washington dealing with something that needs to be thought out carefully, second is sending Glass and the submarine of them into waters that clearly are dangerous, third is the boots-on-the-ground Seal team that keep Washington informed of what they see and finally, fourth, the treachery of the coup to the Russian President.
Director Marsh manages with ease to put these four stories together and add action both above and below the water to create a popcorn film that will keep you guessing. I had a really good time watching the film myself. A fan of HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER and U-571, it shouldn’t be surprising that I enjoyed HUNTER KILLER.
The script came about from the book by Ret. Commander George Wallace USN and author Don Keith. Watching their 700 page book come to the big screen, they are both pleased with what Marsh put together and how the actors played there roles with authenticity. That is what makes a film such as this so darn enjoyable.
Grab a huge tub of popcorn and a few friends for this one and just have a good time on the ride!
In the end – start a battle to stop a war!