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Donovan Marsh
Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common
Writing Credits:
Arne Schmidt, Jamie Moss

An untested American submarine captain teams with U.S. Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 121 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 1/29/2019

• Audio Commentary with Director Donovan Marsh
• “Surface Tension” Featurettes
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Hunter Killer [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 10, 2019)

At the age of 37, 2007’s 300 elevated Gerard Butler to movie star status. This allowed him a long series of leading roles in films that never found much of an audience.

Add 2018’s Hunter Killer to that list. Even with the support of Gary Oldman, the film couldn’t attract many ticket buyers, so it winds up as another Butler box office dud.

While it tails a Russian vessel near the Arctic, a US submarine disappears. Under the command of Commander Joe Glass (Butler), the USS Arkansas goes to investigate.

Along the way, the Arkansas deals with an assault from another Russian sub and sinks it. When Glass brings aboard the survivors, he soon learns an attempted coup threatens Russian leader Nikolai Zakarin (Alexander Diachenko).

With US commando Lieutenant Bill Beaman (Toby Stephens), Glass receives the assignment to rescue Zakarin. To do so, they need the cooperation of Russian sub commander Captain Andropov (Michael Nyqvist), a fact that sets up tension and uncertainty.

At this point in Butler’s career, the biggest question doesn’t revolve around his inability to star in hit films. Instead, I wonder more how he consistently chooses so many bad projects.

Does Butler have a terrible agent? Does he misjudge the offers he get? Does he receive only crap so he takes whatever he can find?

I don’t know, but in the case of Killer, Butler has company, as it includes a handful of notables. In addition to Butler, the film boasts actual Oscar winner Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini and others.

That’s not exactly an all-star cast, but it’s a pretty good group, none of whom make a dent. The majority of the performers seem to operate on cruise control, as few boast work that demonstrates much commitment to the material.

Not that I can blame them, as Killer brings us an oddly dull experience that never threatens to absorb the viewer. This feels like a surprise, as the movie comes with ample opportunities for drama and tension.

Maybe too many opportunities, honestly, as the narrative splits into too many pieces. We get various underwater endeavors as well as the coup and the commando mission.

It feels like Killer took the scripts for three or four different films, dropped them in a blender and this became the result. The competing plot points don’t integrate well and they detract from each other in a manner that defangs the end product.

It doesn’t help that Killer often comes across as little more than a compilation of movie influences. We can see bits of Hunt for Red October, Air Force One and Crimson Tide here, at the very least.

This ensures that Killer never develops its own identity. With so many influences worn on its sleeve, the film tends to seem derivative and stale.

Rarely has a movie with so much potential drama seemed so dull. Unfortunately, Hunter Killer squanders its positive elements on a mediocre story that lacks compelling execution.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus B-

Hunter Killer appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a largely strong image.

While most of the movie presented nice clarity, some wider shots looked a bit tentative. Still, the majority of the flick appeared solid, and no signs of moiré effects or jaggies occurred. The movie also lacked edge haloes or print flaws.

In terms of palette, Killer favored a combination of teal and orange, with an emphasis on the former. Those choices came as no surprise, and the Blu-ray reproduced them in a satisfactory manner.

Blacks showed strong depth, and shadows were good, with nice opacity and clarity. All of this was enough for a “B+” that lost points solely due to the occasional slightly soft shots.

I felt consistently pleased with the excellent Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Killer. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the soundscape offered frequent room for information to emanate from the various speakers.

The mix used those chances well. The soundtrack delivered wall-to-wall auditory material that spread out across the speakers in a satisfying manner and that blended together nicely.

This meant an active track in which the surrounds worked as nearly equal partners and kept the mix humming. Plenty of action moments made this a consistently impressive soundfield.

Audio quality also satisfied, as speech was natural and concise, while music sounded peppy and full. Effects turned into the primary factor, and those elements appeared accurate and vivid.

Bass response added real depth and rocked my subwoofer. Expect a top-notch sonic experience here.

An audio commentary features director Donovan Marsh. He presents a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, research and realism, stunts and action, effects, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, and other domains.

Marsh seems excited to discuss his film, and he provides an energetic chat. I can’t claim the information always seems scintillating, but Marsh offers more than enough good details to make this an enjoyable piece.

A two-part program called Surface Tension spans 24 minutes, 36 seconds. It includes notes from Marsh, producers John Thompson, Toby Jaffe and Les Weldon, novelist George Wallace, technical advisor Russ Coons, and actors Gerard Butler, Common, Toby Stephens, Linda Cardellini, and Michael Nyqvist.

“Tension” covers the project’s origins and development, the source’s adaptation and story/characters, how Marsh came to the film and his approach, cast and performances, military elements and realism.

The first part of “Tension” fares best as it traces the film’s path to the screen. After that, though, it gets bogged down in too much praise and it lacks much useful information.

The disc opens with ads for American Renegades, Reprisal, The Commuter, and Hacksaw Ridge. No trailer for Killer appears here.

When Hunter Killer hit movie screens in fall 2018, I wanted to see it but it vanished from theaters so quickly that I couldn’t. This feels like less of a disappointment now that I’ve watched the film at home, as the project lacks excitement, drama or much real reason to entertain the viewer. The Blu-ray brings very good picture and audio along with a few productive bonus features. Killer becomes a forgettable entry in the action genre.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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