The Netflix Gerard Butler Military Thriller That’s Finally Finding Its Fans

By Robert Scucci | Updated

Gerard Butler’s Hunter Killer is currently streaming on Netflix, and this military action thriller will make you hold your breath during its most tense moments. Based on the 2012 Don Keith and George Wallace novel, Firing Point, Hunter Killer will take you into hostile territory on the brink of war.

Though this film was not warmly received at the time of its release, it has since won over audiences on streaming, as it expertly takes pages from the Crimson Tide, Olympus Has Fallen, and Under Seige playbooks, while offering its own unique take on covert Navy SEAL operations.

The Disappearance Of The USS Tampa Bay

The primary tension in Hunter Killer quickly becomes clear when the USS Tampa Bay mysteriously disappears in the Arctic while on a reconnaissance mission. Gerard Butler’s Commander Joe Glass of the USS Arkansas is tasked with investigating the disappearance. Meanwhile, a Navy SEAL team led by Lieutenant Bill Beaman (Toby Stephens) is on a separate mission in which they witness a coup led by Admiral Dmitriy Durov, and the subsequent capturing of Russian President Nikolai Zakarin.

On The Cusp Of World War III

But matters get complicated in Hunter Killer when Commander Glass discovers that the USS Tampa Bay was destroyed along with the Russian vessel it was searching for, the Akula-class submarine, Konek. When the US government gets wind of foul play, US Rear Admiral John Fisk (Common) suggests that Glass and Beaman team up to rescue the Russian president. And the stakes couldn’t be any higher because failing this mission could potentially cause a global crisis in the form of World War III.

A Race Against The Clock

From this point forward, Hunter Killer quite literally takes a deep-dive into hostile territory as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Donnegan (Gary Oldman) prepares for war. From this point forward, we’re pelted with torpedoes, and dragged through the wreckage in a way that would make Michael Bay himself blush.

As Glass and Beaman race against the clock to rescue President Zakarin, it’s made apparent that the most intense battles don’t happen during times of war, but rather the critical moments leading up to preventing one.

A Box Office Flop

Upon its release, Hunter Killer was a critical and commercial failure. The film only earned $31 million against its reported budget of $40 million, falling short of breaking even at the global box office. Critics criticized the film for being a typical by-the-numbers wartime action movie, and for this reason gave it a 37 percent rating across 116 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. But audiences were more receptive to what Hunter Killer was offering, and gave it a much more favorable 67 percent rating.

Hunter Killer Is Streaming On Netflix

At the end of the day, Hunter Killer doesn’t necessarily offer audiences something that they haven’t seen before. But not every film has to reinvent the wheel if the wheel itself is capable of spinning at breakneck speeds while still telling a compelling story that highlights the critical covert operations that are required to maintain peace on a global scale. If you’ve seen the classics, but want updated special effects and an all-star cast, then you’ll find that Hunter Killer is a satisfying action thriller to add to your Netflix queue.