Gerard Butler stars in Hunter Killer, the #1 movie on HBO Max.
If you’re looking for an action movie to watch this weekend, look no further than the Gerard Butler hit Hunter Killer. According to FlixPatrol the 2018 thriller is the number one movie currently streaming on HBO Max.
Alongside Gerard Butler, the film stars Dark Knight Trilogy veteran Gary Oldman, rapper Common and Scooby-Doo actress (and best Velma) Linda Cardellini. Donovan Marsh directed Hunter Killer from a screenplay courtesy of RoboCop producer Arne Schmidt and Ghost in the Shell scribe Jamie Moss.
The movie revolves around Captain Joe Glass (Gerard Butler), who is sent to investigate the disappearance of the USS Tampa Bay, a U.S. submarine that disappeared while tracking a Russian submarine in the Arctic. Somehow along the way, he gets entangled in a coup d’etat against the president of Russia. Hunter Killer sets up the attempted coup as the catalyst for a war between the USA and Russia.
Gerard Butler gives it his all as Captain Glass in a film that is wall-to-wall action and suspense from the minute it starts until the credits roll. Hunter Killer was adapted from the novel Firing Point written by former real-life naval submarine commander George Wallace. The movie had a long and bumpy road from Wallace’s original book to the finished film.
Pierre Morel was originally asked to direct the film, but when the Taken director declined, the film’s producers hired Phillip Noyce, director of the 2014 adaptation of The Giver, to helm the movie instead. Sadly, Noyce left the Gerard Butler project before Hunter Killer even began production. Training Day director Antoine Fuqua was the next choice for director, but shockingly, the director ended up leaving the project to work on Olympus Has Fallen and took Gerard Butler with him.
After the departure of Fuqua and star Gerard Butler, Hunter Killer languished in development hell, being passed over by both Charlie’s Angels director McG and even Final Destination 5 maestro Steven Quale. Thankfully the film was stalled long enough that Gerard Butler was able to return to the project right around the time Martin Campbell was chosen to direct.
Unfortunately, the GoldenEye director skipped out on the project leaving Gerard Butler and Hunter Killer once again without a captain to steer their ship. Eventually, the movie was able to snag Donovan Marsh, famed director of Spud and Spud 2: The Madness Continues. Finally, after initial development started in 2008, the movie was finally ready to start shooting in 2016.
Despite its long and involved production, the movie grossed only $6.7 million in its first weekend, making it the second worst debut for Gerard Butler behind 2012’s Playing for Keeps. Hunter Killer ended up with a worldwide gross of $31.7 million. Almost $10 million shy of its estimated $40 million budget.
The few moviegoers that did show up for Hunter Killer during its original theatrical run loved the film. The average audience grade, according to CinemaScore, was A- on a scale of A+ to F. PostTrak reported that filmgoers polled gave the movie 4 out of 5 stars.
Despite a glowing audience reception, the critical response to the Gerard Butler-led film were less than kind. Hunter Killer received a 43 out of 100 on Metacritic and an even lower 37 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie has a rather respectable 6.6/10 on IMDb, however, again highlighting the fact that viewers liked the movie more than critics.
The response is par for the course for Gerard Butler and the types of movies he’s most associated with. Action movies like Hunter Killer often prove to be just the adrenaline-fueled thrill ride viewers want after a hard week of work despite being absolutely savaged by critics. The difference is the critics aren’t looking for shut-off-your-mind escapism the way the average action movie fan is.
While Gerard Butler is seldom the actor you seek out when you’re looking for Oscar-worthy dramatic character pieces, he’s the perfect lead for a slam-bam guns-a-blazing rollercoaster of an action flick. In the same way, Hunter Killer isn’t the best movie choice if you’re looking for something to stimulate your cerebral cortex and really make you think. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a movie full of explosions and crazy stunts that you can watch while your brain just chills and goes with the flow, you won’t find anything better than Hunter Killer.