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By Jose Jara

By: Daniel Guzman

This weekend’s opening film, Hunter Killer, is testing its mettle amongst other submarine action thrillers such as K-19: The Widowmaker, U571, Crimson Tide, and The Hunt for Red October. The film stars Gerard Butler as an American Submarine Captain, Joe Glass, who is tasked on a top-secret mission to aid in saving the Russian president from being overthrown by a zealot Russian general. Going into this film I thought this would be a typical political action film that we are all so familiar with Gerard Butler doing like, Olympus Has Fallen & London Has Fallen, only difference being that we now see how he can be a U.S. hero underwater. I figured that this sort of film has nothing left of originality to offer to its viewers. Therefore, before the movie even began, I thought to myself, “I should have waited to catch this on Redbox or Netflix rather than driving all the way to the theater.” After watching Hunter Killer, I found myself being correct in regard to its familiar theatrical plot, formulaic dialogue, and patriotic military comradery, but still I left the theater feeling like I had a really fun time.

The cast of Hunter Killer is also comprised of Academy Award winner, Gary Oldman, who plays a top a U.S. government military official who is spearheading the political battleship action from cozy Pentagon. Rapper/actor, Common (Selma/ John Wick 2), plays Admiral Fisk, a U.S. military official who delegates the Hunter Killer submarine captained by Joe Glass, to submerge into Russian waters and check on the whereabout of a U.S submarine that lost contact with the Pentagon after playing cat and mouse with a Russian submarine that also seems to of stopped pinging. Actress Linda Cardellini (Freaks and Geeks/MadMen) portrays a U.S. international intelligence supervisor who shares information with Admiral Fisk that there may be something murky in the political waters happening with the Russian government that warrants sending a covert special force team led by team leader Bill Beaman, played by Toby Stephens (Black Sails, Lost in Space), to run a reconnaissance mission to uncover what the Russian president is up to. The special force team unbelievably stumbles into having a front row seat at a military coup led by the Russian president’s top general. Meanwhile underwater, U.S. submarine Captain Joe Glass finds himself in the middle of this whole debacle, forced to rescue a Russian Submarine Captain, played by the late actor Michael Nyqvist (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo/ Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol), all while trying to earn the trust of his newly appointed crew, navigating uncharted dangerous waters filled with explosive mines, and going toe to toe with enemy submarines & a naval destroyer.

Like I said in the beginning, this film does not do anything new that hasn’t been done before. The thing is, a movie like this isn’t aiming to be anything more than what it is. The action on the ground with the special force team delivered gratifying land action all on its own. The nail-biting scenes underwater made me sweat above water. I even found myself practically holding my breath during a scene in which the whole crew is trying to stay hairpin quiet while passing next to a sound sensitive mine. I could have done without the political chess scenes that take place in the Pentagon, but they weren’t long overdrawn to the point of ad nauseam. My final verdict is that Hunter Killer is a good ole suspenseful action film worth spending time in a dark room, with a large screen, booming sounds, and a bucket of popcorn!