Dracula 2000 will be remembered more for being one of Gerard Butler’s first feature roles more than being a good movie. Because it was anything but. Poor directing, bad acting, even worse dialogue. Butler being cast as Dracula will tell you all you need to know about that film if you haven’t seen it.
Fortunately for Butler, he’s moved on to better films, but not by much. And that is the most frustrating thing about Gerard Butler. Chasing Mavericks, Olympus Has Fallen, 300, P.S. I Love You, Butler is better than his new film, Hunter Killer.
Hunter Killer, the adaptation of Don Keith’s book, “Firing Point” tells the story of Joe Glass. A newly minted U.S. Navy submarine captain who’s tasked with sneaking his submarine through the central port of the Russian navy to assist an American commando unit with rescuing the Russian president during a cue for control of the Russian military.
Having read the book as a kid, I was excited about this film as the book kept me riveted with some tense scenes and witty dialogue. About 3 lines of that dialogue made it into the film. Director, Donovan Marsh shows very little ability to balance tension and story between his characters as the story is divided between Butler on the sub, Toby Stephens’ commando unit, the Russian president, and Gary Oldman’s chairman of the joint chiefs at command.
There is so much going on and there are so many characters that, from the first minute of the film, and character development in this film is ignored in favor of characters that are so two dimensional that you might as well be reading a comic book. That presented a problem because you don’t care for anyone one of these characters. And with a cast that includes Gerard Butler, Michael Nyquvist, and Gary Oldman, that’s a hard sentence to say.
Butler fits his role well for what it is, for a brief time, you could believe he was the captain of this sub. Only helped from a single scene where he connects with a crewman and the occasional one-liner, delivered with great timing from Butler. He’s acting against the legendary Michael Nyquvist is a fun thing to watch as Gerard Butler’s passion matches well with Nyquvist’s quiet and control. Toby Stephens, a man who you would be hard pressed to believe he’s actually British, truly shines as the gruff Bill Beaman, the stereotypical tough-as-nails commando that who you think hates his troops but will go back for them while under enemy fire. Stephens has a lot of fun with the role and his enjoyment comes out into some of the best sequences in the film. Helped by, not only some of the best lines but the best performance in this film.
Gary Oldman is in this film, for some reason. In a surprise role that is a lot smaller than you think it is. Oldman’s Admiral Charles Donnegan is the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and spends the entire film screaming at Common. For what the role is, Common plays the man in charge of the entire opposition to save the Russian president damn good. He plays the role with a lot of weight to his choices and is one of the gems this film has.
Hunter Killer is a marginally entertaining film that is 100% forgettable. With a well earned 2.5 out of 5 stars you will be left giggling how a 4 man team parachuting into Russia can carry scuba gear, an ROV, rifles, climbing gear, and iPhones that plug into your sniper scopes for better views. The screens on iPhones are that good apparently.