Hunter Killer (4K Blu-ray) (2018)

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Released 30-Jan-2019

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Audio Commentary
Featurette-Making Of-3
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2018
Running Time 121
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Donovan Marsh
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Gerard Butler
Gary Oldman
Linda Cardellini
Toby Stephens
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Trevor Morris

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Atmos 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 2160p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Submarine movies have been a significant sub-genre of movies for a very long time including films like Das Boot, U-571, K-19 The Peacemaker, Black Sea and many more. Can this new production, Hunter Killer hope to create something new and different in this well trod area? Unfortunately, not really, but there is a solid action thriller here that is worth a watch. A good cast (mostly) helps to create a decent film directed by South African Donovan Marsh who does a workmanlike job. This film seems to have been a pet project of star Gerard Butler for many years. He is credited as a producer. It is based on a novel, Firing Point by Don Keith and George Wallace.

The story involves two submarines, one American and one Russian that are playing a game of cat and mouse in the cold northern waters off Russia. Both submarines are attacked, seemingly by an unknown third party. Back at the pentagon, Rear Admiral Fisk (Common) alerts the Joint Chief of Staff, Admiral Donergan (Gary Oldman) who starts to prepare for war as they feel their submarine has been sunk by the Russians. They decide to investigate further by sending in another submarine, USS Arkansas to look for the downed American sub. Arkansas' Captain has just changed to a new commander who has risen up from the ranks, Joe Glass (Gerard Butler). When they arrive in the Arctic waters they discover the downed US submarine and the Russian one. The Russian sub has not been completely sunk and they rescue the captain, Andropov (Michael Nyquist) and a few of his crew from a still sealed compartment of the submarine. They are then attacked by another submarine hiding under the ice. Meanwhile, NSA analyst, Jayne Norquist (Linda Cardellini) has asked Fisk to send a seal team, led by Bill Beaman (Toby Stephens) into Russia to investigate what is going on at a nearby Russian naval base. What they find indicates that a rogue element of the Russian armed forces is attempting a coup to remove Russian President, Zakarin and the submarine incidents have been designed to provide a smoke screen. Can Joe Glass and his crew rescue the Russian President and stop World War III?

This is a competent action thriller, however it attempts to cover too many stories and the chopping backwards and forwards means that tension is lost. The submarine scenes are generally full of tension but then they are interrupted by on-land scenes with the Navy Seals or with Pentagon based scenes. This disrupts the flow and also makes the film a little long at just over 2 hours. There are also some sequences in the first act which are thick with dialogue rather than action or tension building activity. Some other elements that reduce the effectiveness of the film are some dodgy looking CGI elements especially in Ultra HD, some of the support actors such as Carter Macintyre make Gerard Butler look like Laurence Olivier and the very generic score does not aid the building of tension. None of this means the film is terrible, it is worth watching and enjoyable for what it is. Michael Nyquist is good as the Russian captain in one of his last film roles before his death. The submarine scenes feel realistic, the film got use of a US Virginia class submarine and then replicated the control room in the Pinewood Studios in London along with some water based sequences. External land based sequences were shot in Bulgaria.

I enjoyed this film for what it is but it feels disappointing because it could have been better maybe with some better editing. Rent rather than buy.

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Transfer Quality


The video quality is very good but somewhat variable.

This disc is 2160p and includes Dolby Vision HDR. The aspect ratio is the original aspect ratio of 2.40:1. According to IMDB and other sources this film was shot with a variety of cameras and lenses which in Ultra HD is a bit obvious as some sequences certainly look better in detail and colour terms than others. I would assume this transfer is an upscale from a 2K intermediate especially considering the preponderance of CGI. Open water scenes look great, as I have noted before waves and the ocean look stunning in 4K (even on an upscale). There was one scene which showed banding underwater but much less than is visible in the accompanying Blu-ray. The Ultra HD disc also shows a significant difference in terms of colour and detail probably due to the higher bitrate when compared to the Blu-ray. It does not look as good as some other 4K discs.

There aresubtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read plus Spanish.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


The audio quality is excellent.

The main audio track here is a Dolby Atmos one (resolving as True HD 7.1 on non-Atmos systems).In addition there is a Audio Descriptive track in Dolby Digital 2.0 plus a Spanish track in Dolby Digital 5.1. The Blu-ray version only has DTS HD-MA 5.1.

There is some excellent surround activity in the film especially the action sequences and the submarine scenes which evoke the claustrophobic world of a submarine. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout. The subwoofer added lots of grunt and tension sounds especially during the underwater sequences.

High quality stuff.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Two of the extras are on the 4K disc and all four are available on the accompanying Blu-ray. They are 1080p HD regardless.


The menu is still and silent.

Surface Tension : Declassifying Hunter Killer (24:36)

This is an extended making of featurette which is split into two parts. On the 4K you can play all but on the Blu-ray you must play each part separately. It covers casting, production, development, technical authenticity, stunts and CGI. Worthwhile.

Commentary - Director Donovan Marsh

A good quality commentary where he discusses a whole load of topics including the submarines themselves, the involvement of the Navy, building sets, research, shooting on set and in Bulgaria, themes, locations, Pinewood Studios, taking a real submarine out into the ocean, project development and much more. He is engaging and interesting.

First Look (12:17) Blu-ray only

A shorter version of Surface Tension with similar content.

Beneath the Surface (2:42) Blu-ray only

An even shorter version of the above. Superfluous really.

Bookmarks Functionality

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

This release seems to be the same format globally.


A decent action thriller.

The video quality is very good but variable.

The audio quality is excellent.

The extras are decent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLEDC8PTA 55. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5012
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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