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481. Hunter Killer; movie review

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Title : 481. Hunter Killer; movie review
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Cert 15
119 mins
BBFC advice: Contains strong language, violence

A former colleague and I regularly wind each other up over the films of Gerard Butler.
She thinks he is the sexiest man on two legs while I would not want to judge him on his handsomeness, I am yet to be convinced of his acting prowess.
To be fair, his characters seem particularly adept at putting their lives on the line for presidents so it makes sense that he gets the call every time a head of state is in bother.
Usually, it is an American so it is something of a novelty that Hunter Killer is focused on the Russian leader.
In common with his previous films, this is a pile of implausible tosh.
Butler plays a submarine captain who is called in to lead a mission in the Barents Sea where it appears that an American vessel has been sunk by the Russians.
The US military and political analysts are on tenterhooks to discover whether this is a deliberately aggressive act and need a man with unorthodox tactics.
They find that in abundance with Butler's character who pretty much ignores all advice be it from superiors or underlings.
On the face of it, this could either result in mutiny, court-martial or both but in Butler world, swagger wins the day.
Therefore, despite being of suspect temperament, he is entrusted with the highest level of battle strategies and diplomacy.
That all makes Hunter Killer seem far more cerebral than it is.
In a nutshell, it is actually a rah-rah-rah American movie which shouts about US patriotism and decries Russian treachery.
Ironically, neither of those playing the key roles are American - Butler is Scottish and Gary Oldman is English.
Oldman plays a gung-ho military intelligence chief who lacks the subtlety and tactical nous which his position demands.
Meanwhile, Butler's character seems blessed with an underwater sixth sense (as well as a disregard for orders) as he leads the delicate operation against the Russians.
I'm afraid, in common with too many of Butler's films, Hunter Killer is nonsense. It is so heavily targeted on action sequences and Butler's heroic captain that any semblance of realistic plot has been slung out of the window.
And this time, the reaction of cinema audiences has shown they need more. The budget of Donovan Marsh's movie was $40m but most recent estimates show that it only made $30m.
Perhaps that proves they have finally had their fill of Butler's mindless movies and he will finally have to play another tune.

Reasons to watch: If you are devoted to Gerard Butler
Reasons to avoid: If you demand a semi-realistic storyline

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 4/10

Director quote - Donovan Marsh: "You look at the press of late and how the Russians are posturing with MIG’s or destroyers, you are not sure what could happen next. So playing the what-if game is the delicious part of the film."

The big question - How long can Gerard Butler go on saving presidents?

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