Hunter Killer Review – A Modern Take On Old School 80’s and 90’s War Game Flicks

If you’re down for a return to the old school war game-style films from the 80’s and early 90’s, you may want to schedule a trip to the theater to check out the Gerard Butler starring Hunter Killer. It may not be a very deep movie in terms of its characters and plots, but it excels at creating tension and making you feel it, so that coupled with the awesome submarine action, I couldn’t help but be entertained.

You can check out my full review below via the embedded video, or you can read the script just below it. There are no spoilers, and there isn’t a plot synopsis either, so you’re safe to tune in.

Hey now you Hunter Killer fans, and I’m not talking about flying terminators, I’m talking about submarines, Matt Heywood here to review the Gerard Butler starring Hunter Killer.

There will be no spoilers in this review, in fact, there won’t even be much of a discussion around the plot.

If you’ve been itching for an old school war games-style thriller set in a nuclear powered cigar tube that doesn’t ask too much of your brain, then prepare to scratch yourself with Hunter Killer.

This movie perfectly captures the glorious style of films made during the cold war era in which the entire world order is in limbo thanks to a massive geo-political event between the United States and Russia. It channels the submarine drama of the equally tense The Hunt for the Red October, albeit with modern warfare tropes in place, and features plenty of Miller Time moments such as those found in Top Gun, or Iron Eagle. It truly is the perfect embodiment of old school war games action movie thrillers, so it was very refreshing to watch, because we don’t really get this type of action flick anymore.

Geo-political war movies like this that could potentially play out in real life, have been replaced by comic book films, or over-the-top black ops franchises like Mission Impossible, in which the lead character feels more like a superhero, than a regular serviceman doing extraordinary things. And while I love me some comic book movies and Tom Cruise doing godly things on screen, I’ve missed the more true-to-life action war dramas, which is probably why I enjoyed Hunter Killer so much.

It really excels at building up tension, and then paying off on the build-up. The action scenes that take place on the featured sub are very well done, and are capable of making your butthole pucker during tense moments. You can feel the stress that Gerard Butler’s Joe Glass character is experiencing, as well as his crew. You worry for their safety, and cheer on their victories, because even though this movie doesn’t spend anytime really developing any of the characters, it still excels in making you care for their situation due to the extreme situations they’re put in.

It’s also just rad watching submarines do their thing. These really are impressive machines of war that don’t nearly get as predominantly featured as aircraft carriers, destroyers, or fighter jets on film, so it was awesome to see a hunter killer in action in various precarious situations with the Russians.

This movie also folds in some special forces action by featuring a plot thread that takes place on land with a group of Seals. While they too provide for some great America Fuck Yeah moments, I did feel like I’d rather be watching moments take place on the sub than on the ground, so I felt like the Seal thread took away from the bread and butter of Hunter Killer. This thread is ultimately a key part of the overarching narrative, and by no means is it boring to watch play out, it just can’t compete with the thrills that the submarine crew’s plot provided.

Hunter Killer may feature a slightly fantastical plot line that sees a coup taking place in Russia, but for the most part, its events aren’t too far fetched, especially in today’s fragile geo-political environment. I think its level of authenticity, and for that matter its simplicity, is what makes this movie so enjoyable. It doesn’t try to be smarter or more dramatic than it is, it just offers up an enjoyable two hours of dramatic war games action.

For its nostalgic feel alone, Hunter Killer is a 7.5 out of 10 type of movie. I do recommend a trip to a theater for it to take in its action moments on a big screen. If you loved war movies from the 80’s and early 90’s, you’ll definitely appreciate this modern take on them.

Thanks for watching, I’m Matt Heywood signing off for, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.

Review Summary

Story - 7.5
Cinematography - 8.5
Sound - 7
Acting - 7
Entertainment Value - 7.5



Hunter Killer is a refreshing return to the 80's and 90's era of Cold War action flicks that didn't ask to much of its audience in terms of plot nuances, but also provided very tense and dramatic viewing experiences. Plus, there's a heavy helping of Miller Time moments, so it's a very America "Fuck Yeah" type of war game flick.


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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.