There is nothing deep going on here and proves once again that irrespective of location there is only one Scottish native guaranteed to save the world. Step up and all hail Gerard Butler who will forever be Sparta.
There is something comforting about Gerard Butler in a nuclear submarine on the brink of World War III. You know that our Machine Gun Preacher is going to kick arse, take names and maybe find time to squeeze in a Hugo Boss advert extolling the virtues of being a real man. Mr Butler is becoming a Scottish institution similar in many ways to Sir Sean Connery, who also trail blazed a career based on being from Scotland irrespective of his film character origins. Throw into the mix some solid support from recent Oscar winner Gary Oldman and you feel in safe hands.
As a premise Hunter Killer is copy book Hunt For Red October and Crimson Tide territory of which I personally prefer the latter. Crazy as an arse hat second in command to the Russian premier has seized control of our Cold War cousins and intends to kill everyone. Butler is a military man of undefined origins who has never captained a submarine and we first encounter in Scotland deer hunting. Cast iron stubble, unsullied outdoor terrain fatigues and rifle in hand he is then scooped up by helicopter and singlehandedly gains respect from all his men before setting sail.
Oldman meanwhile bounces between a mahogany desk exuding authority as Chief Of Staff to the White House and looking at big screens cursing Butler’s reckless behaviour. There is nothing new in Hunter Killer but the script is serviceable, performances just the right side of hammy, while action set pieces give you bang for your buck. Similar to Jason Statham our hardened Scottish hero eats bad guys for breakfast, flexes a manly jowl and growls through his dialogue with determination, reminding everyone that he will save the day.
Over the course of Hunter Killer, Butler makes peace with a Russian captain and enlists his help, shares a war story with a worried submariner to calm his nerves and does so fully aware that he is Gerard Butler. There is nothing deep going on here and proves once again that irrespective of location there is only one Scottish native guaranteed to save the world. Step up and all hail Gerard Butler who will forever be Sparta.
Written by Martin Carr
Directed by: Donovan Marsh
Written by: Arne Schmidt, Jamie Moss
Starring: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, Toby Stephens
Hunter Killer is out now on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD.