(Release Info London/U.K. schedule; October 19th, 2018, Empire Cinemas)
Deep under 'The Arctic Ocean', American submarine Captain Joe Glass (Gerard Butler) is on the hunt for a U.S. sub in distress when he discovers a secret Russian coup is in the offing, threatening to dismantle the world order. With crew and country on the line, Captain Glass must now assemble an elite group of 'Navy SEALS' to rescue the kidnapped Russian president Zakarin (Alexander Diachenko) and sneak through enemy waters to stop 'WWIII'.
This is the relentlessly tense situation audiences are plunged into in "Hunter Killer", aptly named for the sleek attack subs created to boldly approach the enemy without detection. It all begins as a Russian sub sinks in 'The Arctic Ocean'. Soon after, 'The U.S.' sub ghosting it also mysteriously vanishes. In the midst of investigating these unsettling events, military brass in 'Washington D.C.' are sent scrambling when they discover a rogue Russian admiral is attempting to carry out a bloodthirsty coup at a naval base in Russia. The only hope to halt a war of the superpowers lies in the efforts of two secret crews. First, a clandestine 'Black Ops' team of 'Ex-SEALs' must try to sneak into Russian territory to intercept the kidnapping of 'The Russian President'. Simultaneously, in the sea, Captain Joe Glass and the young crew of 'The USS Arkansas' are under orders to head towards the enemy. As a hunter-killer captain, Glass has mastered the rules of the cat-and-mouse game but will now have to courageously break them, as he realizes that this time the cat and the mouse may have to join forces. As the steely Captain Glass comes face-to-face with his stoic Russian counterpart, Captain Andropov (Michael Nyqvist), it becomes clear that the wary, distrustful bond between them may be all that stands between the world and nuclear catastrophe.
Captain Joe Glass reveals a very different side to heroism as the fiercely intelligent and quietly bold Captain of 'The USS Arkansas' He’s an action guy who makes it all happen, but he does it from a position of authority rather than being the guy out there pulling the trigger. Glass knows that trust is the only sinew that can hold together a young and anxious submarine crew with so little contact with the outside world. But he has to forge that trust on his boat one savvy move at a time. At first nobody quite trusts Glass because he seems a little nuts. But you see him carefully build his bond with the crew as they begin to realize how serious their mission is. They start out as young men and women who are mostly playing at their roles and then you get to watch as they become incredibly honed warriors daring to attempt the impossible. The trust issues get far more complicated when 'The USS Arkansas' takes aboard a group of rescued Russians who, though ostensibly the enemy, may actually be the key to everyone’s survival. Glass is more about daring strategy than physical derring-do, which further boosted the development. What’s fascinating about Glass to is that he has to make decisions that will affect the world for hundreds of years because we’re talking about the immediate possibility of sparking an all-out 'World War III'. So he’s up against the highest stakes imaginable, and the way things unfold for him is both really suspenseful and surprisingly believable in today’s geopolitical circumstances.
When 'The USS Arkansas' rescues the surviving Russian crew aboard a crippled sub, Captain Glass comes face-to-face with his alter-ego, a man who under other circumstances might be his most feared enemy, but who reflects a mirror image of himself. This is Captain Andropov, and both men will come to take enormous risks as they wrestle with how much to trust the other. He's a patriot in an 'Old School' way. What happens to him is a betrayal by his own country and he finds it unbelievable and that's very relatable. They’re enemies. But as individuals, they each have the ability to do things differently than anybody else would; they both can see above and beyond the normal rules of conflict and engagement. Andropov is an old salty dog of a warrior while Glass is a hard-nosed, blue-collar Navy man. Glass and Andropov trust each other as sailors and at the end of the day, these two captains find they're in the same situation. They have to help each other and that becomes a key theme of the story; trust. Yet they both have respect for the other and their almost silent relationship drives the outcome of the story.
While Captain Glass wrestles with the right moves in the deep blue, the military brass in 'Washington D.C.' race to figure out the best response to the imminent global crisis for 'The United States'. The man leading the charge towards military action in 'The War Room is the resolute Admiral Charles Donnegan (Gary Oldman). He thinks that, sort of like a magician’s sleight of hand, that while 'The U.S.' is preoccupied with preventing a nuclear war, he’ll pull off his coup without resistance. But Donnegan feels his job is to respond to any threat with strength and intent. Opposing Donnegan in 'The War Room' with a more cautious 'POV' is Rear Admiral John Fisk (Common). He has to make decisions that are complex and have huge consequences in the world. He knows that the information he provides to his Commander-in-Chief can start or stop a war and he has to take every moment of his job very, very seriously. Donnegan is quick to believe that 'World War III' is already in motion. He has a certain way of thinking about conflict that Fisk sees as rooted in the past. Fisk is from a generation that's more open-minded and about seeking peace. So they represent opposite strategies at 'The Pentagon'.
This film is based on the novel 'Firing Point', written by George Wallace, the highly experienced, retired commander of the nuclear attack submarine 'The USS Houston', along with author Don Keith. The book’s action-packed plot, based on Wallace’s extensive knowledge, twisted and turned through a Russian nationalist coup, a 'Black Ops Navy SEAL' mission and an attack submarine captain faced with decisions that could halt, or instantly ignite, 'WWIII'. Complex as it's, the story is so teeth-grittingly plausible it keeps readers up late at night. Even more than the thrills, readers are transported into life on a nuclear sub, immersed into the cramped, sun-deprived, nerve-shredding ambience where steadiness and honor are the only bedrock to be found. Indeed, the submarine movie has been a popular genre since the earliest days of commercial motion pictures. From the silent 'Secret Of The Submarine' in 1915 to a flood of nerve-wracking 'WWII' sub movies to the groundbreakingly visceral German film "Das Boot" to the adaptations of Tom Clancy’s "The Hunt For Red October" and "Crimson Tide" in the 1990s, the tightly-contained space inside a sub full of soldiers facing extremes of confinement, anxiety and danger has been rife with the stuff of drama. But in the wake of vast changes in submarine technology, and in the world, in the new millennium, no film had yet submersed itself into life on a '21st Century' naval submarine.
'Hunter Killer' is a naval vessel, especially a submarine, equipped to locate and destroy enemy vessels, especially other submarines. Deep beneath 'The Icy Surface' of 'fhe Arctic Circle', 'Fhe Cold War' never really ended. Here, at extreme depths invisible to the world, U.S. and Russian submarines continue to play ultra-high-stakes rounds of hide-and- seek through harrowingly narrow passages, as a constant reminder to one another of the unthinkable costs of sudden aggression. Peril has only mounted amid heightened tensions as a new generation of highly sophisticated nuclear attack subs prowl the murky depths, persistently trailing and shadowing one another as if a full-blown battle is about to break out. But what if these charged war games suddenly stopped being a game at all? What if, as chaos erupts on land, there's only one shot to pull the world back from the brink of 'WWIII' and unthinkable nuclear conflicty? The film takes the classic submarine thriller, with all it's nail-biting tension, claustrophobia, physical and psychological pressure, into 'The Post-Cold War Era' when flash coups and counter-reactions can alter the balance of world power overnight.
“Hunter Killer is about a fictional event, but it could easily occur in today’s world. There have been many recent news articles about how Russian and American submarines are chasing each other under water in dangerous ways. Yet, because it’s happening under the ocean, the public never knows what's going on. Two submarines ghosting each other through the ocean; resulting in an incident that quickly escalates to the brink of war. These are people who drill and drill and drill so that when things hit the fan, they can make the right moves, like it’s in their sleep. Everything has to be automatic because when you've got freezing cold water coming in, the carbon dioxide is building, there's a fire going on, the place is full of smoke and you know your sub is to go down, you need to be able to act in half a second. Learning about that was very, very enlightening. You see that it takes certain kind of individual to be able to lead in this very hazardous narrow tube. The film’s action moves from deep sea to land and back again. But most of all, "Hunter Killer", captures 'The 21st Century' world of the so-called 'Silent Service', the men and women who serve by patrolling the deep, while their boldest exploits often go unheard and unseen.
It’s a classic story with a heck of a lot of great action, a heck of an intricate plot and a whole cast of fantastic characters who are heroes from different walks of life. It feels like an exciting way to revive the submarine thriller for these times. The film takes the audience into the world of submarine culture in a way that's contemporary to our times. You've all the claustrophobia and contained anxiety of being on the sub and then you've the 'Black Ops' team operating amid gunfire in these big, wide-open spaces. That combination keeps things really interesting. "Hunter Killer" is chance for audiences to experience a lot of military action but you also will get a chance to see another core part of Navy life; honor, courage and commitment being demonstrated against all odds. We live in a time now in which a lot of people are afraid, but maybe we can trust more and we can talk to each other more. If you don’t believe in your prejudice and your fears, we might have a better world.