Deep under the Arctic Ocean, American submarine Captain Joe Glass (Gerard Butler) is searching for a sunken U.S. sub when he hears distress sounds emanating from a nearby Russian sub that’s been sabotaged from within. After a daring mission that rescues Captain Andropov (Michael Nyqvist), Glass discovers that the destruction of both the U.S. and Russian subs was part of a coup. It’s a bid for power by the Defense Minister (Mikhail Gorevoy), who is holding Russia’s President (Alexander Dyachenko) hostage.
Meanwhile in the Situation Room at the White House, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Gary Oldman) is urging the President (Caroline Goodall) to retaliate, an impetuous move which might start World War III.
But Rear Admiral John Fisk (Common), supported by the NSA advisor (Linda Cardellini), has another idea. If Glass and a crack team of black-ops Navy SEALS can kidnap the Russian President and bring him safely back on the American sub, the ambitious Defense Minister will be defeated and a nuclear catastrophe can be avoided.
As expected, there’s high tension as Glass and his apprehensive crew try to sneak through a booby-trapped Russian fjord with the help of Captain Andropov. This film was one of late actor Michael Nyqvist’s last roles – and the film is dedicated to him.
Based on the 2012 novel “Firing Point, it’s” adapted by Arne L. Schmidt & Jamie Moss and directed by Donovan Marsh, who had a submarine set constructed that was slightly wider than a sub’s real dimensions to accommodate the cast of 15, along with 10 in the camera crew – but still claustrophobic.
Unfortunately, it’s cliché-riddled and, given the usual wooden performance by Gerard Butler (“Olympus Has Fallen,” “London Has Fallen”), this film falls far short of any comparison with previous submarine adventures like “The Hunt for Red October,” “Crimson Tide,” “U-571,” “The Abyss” and, of course, “Das Boot.”
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Hunter Killer” is a fretful 5, appealing to those who enjoy watching imaginary military maneuvers.