Hunter Killer (2018) is an action-packed film about two submarine captains, one American and one Russian, who must work together to prevent a war between their two nations. An internal coup puts hundreds of lives at risk, almost going to war. The film explores the multiple people involved in a political conflict, and making the right decision at the right time can save entire nations, but making that decision is always tricky. This article contains spoilers.

Hunter Killer (2018) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

The film opens with a US submarine in the Barents Sea, Russia. The US submarine detects a Russian submarine in the water. They assume they were not detectable by the Russians. The Americans wanted to let the Russians know they were behind them but were hit from above. While preparing for deflectors, another torpedo hits the US submarine. At the NSA, they are trying to figure out what happened to the submarine and how it was shot.

The US military and the NSA decid to send a Hunter-Killer submarine to discover what happened. They chose the submarine’s Captain, Captain Glass. Glass is seen hunting in Scotland when he receives a call from Fleet Command that he is wanted immediately to be the submarine’s Captain. The other crew members find it challenging to accept Glass as their Captain as they have never worked with him. Glass addresses the crew by saying he knows Commander O’Brian has trained the men well and tells them about himself. He also reminds them that their comrades were probably sunk in Tampa Bay, and he intends to run a tight ship. He also tells them that they are his responsibility.

Admiral John Fisk and NSA Jane Norquist discuss what could have happened underwater. Jane informs Fisk that Russian President Zakarin had left with his security personnel to meet Defense Minister Durov a few hours before the explosions. She asks him to put someone on the ground in Russia secretly. As requested, a group of four military men are sent to Russia. They are informed of the operation while training. Cob meets Glass, offers a coin, and tells him he has one of his lucky charms. They briefly get to know each other.

The submarine, as planned, goes underwater in search of the exploded submarine. Meanwhile, the military boys jump off choppers and land in a forested area of Russia. President Zakarin arrives at the base and meets with Durov, who informs him about the submarine. The USS Arkansas does a sea scan and finds the sunken submarine and the fallen comrades. There is a Russian submarine right on top of them between ice structures. The Russian submarine launches torpedoes, and Glass manages to deflect the attack. USS Arkansas now attacks with a torpedo and successfully hits the target. The enemy torpedoes are still active, and Glass directs the torpedo toward the sunken submarine, which is successful.

The worst was not over yet as they detect more movements. Meanwhile, President Zakarin wants to speak with the President of the United States to understand what’s happening. Admiral Fisk is informed that two Russian submarines were down and one American. Glass and crew see a sunken Russian submarine and inspect it. He realizes that it was not attacked, but the missile was launched from within.

He suspects there will be survivors and decides to rescue them and bring them aboard, much to the conflicting ideas of his crew members. The crew are furious since that submarine had taken down Tampa Bay. But Glass informs them that they were just following someone’s orders. Subsequently, the team rescues three men, and one of them is Captain Andropov.

Glass introduces himself and asks Cob to separate the Captain from his crew members and treat them for their injuries and hypothermia. The men on the ground are close to the base command and gearing up. They have a good view of the building and President Zakarin. The NSA, Admiral Fisk, and the team are watching this video from the headquarters. President Zakarin tells Durov that he needs to contact Moscow and inform his General about everything happening. Durov says he has got them and that Zakarin is in his care. Zakarin is annoyed and is about to leave when his right-hand man is shot.

Durov tells him that he would do as he sees fit and everyone should listen to him as his command is from Zakarin. Zakarin and the right-hand man are brought to the docks, and the right-hand man is thrown into the water while Zakarin watches. The US military men on the ground have visual and audio of this, and it’s shown live to the headquarters. Moreover, Admiral Fisk Jane and the Ministers meet the President of the United States to discuss the matter. Fisk and Jane have conflicting ideas about dealing with Admiral Donnegan’s situation, as he wants to prepare for war. President Dover gives authority to prepare for war but also grants permission to Fisk to rescue Zakarin.

The men on the ground and underwater are informed about the rescue mission. This means that the USS Arkansas has to enter the Russian water territory, which has traps throughout. Glass talks to Captain Andropov and asks for his help. Andropov is initially reluctant, but Glass gets through to him by reminding him that he was sabotaged from within and, hence, his submarine was sunk. He also talks to him about being sailors and understanding each other’s difficulties of being underwater with many risks. At Polyarny, they detect transmission near the docks. The Russian military men go out to inspect. However, the men on the ground are hiding. But the commander of the troop starts shooting, and one of the men (Marty) is hit.

Hunter Killer (2018) Movie Ending Explained
Gerard Butler, Michael Nyqvist, David Gyasi, and Christopher Goh in Hunter Killer (2018)

They leave the man behind to bring him with them and continue their mission to rescue Zakarin. The men in the USS Arkansans prepare to get to Polyarny. Andropov decides to help the crew and guide them away from all the traps. The crew is unhappy for being commanded by an enemy. But Glass asks the men to do their job, and he is sure Andropov would help. The first trap is mines, and they move away from it unscathed. The next trap is sound sensors, and the entire crew goes silent despite some challenges. Acoustic-detonating mines are the next trap.

There’s no way of escaping this trap. Andropov shows them a path without traps that would lead them to Polyarny. The crew does not trust Andropov, but it turns out Andropov is correct, and there is a way after all. The three remaining military men make their way to rescue Zakarin. They reach the building and find Zakarin’s right-hand man. He agrees to help find Zakarin. They successfully get inside the building and blow up the door where Zakarin is locked up. There is a gunfight between the Russian and American men. Zakarin’s right-hand man asks them to take Zakarin and leave. He covers for them.

Durov sees him and sends more men on top. As the men are climbing down, the top floor blows up. The Russian men from the top start firing, and the American military loses one man. They start swimming, and the USS Arkansas waits for them. The Russian army men start following them and shooting. From afar, atop a tree, Marty helps these men swim across by firing on the Russian Army. While swimming across, another American army man is shot by the Russian Army. Zakarin is also hurt. The one surviving American military man rescues Zakarin and goes back to get Marty. Durov sees the USS Arkansas and sends a warship to take it down.

Andropov notices the warship and tells the crew that he has trained these men and they wouldn’t miss. The warship fires missiles, the USS Arkansas gets hit multiple times, and many vital parts of the submarine are malfunctioning. Meanwhile, Marty is rescued from the forest surrounded by the Russian military. Admiral Donnegan prepares the fleets to counter-attack and save USS Arkansas. Seeing the ship’s movements, the Russians also get their fleet ready for war. Glass once again takes Andropov’s help and gets him in contact with the warship. He commands the men, asking them not to fire at them. The warship’s Captain forces the men on board to fire at gunpoint, but they refuse to.

Hunter Killer (2018) Movie Ending Explained:

Will two Captain’s comradeship win over a political conflict?

At that moment, Zakarin comes through and gives a message that if anybody fires at the American submarines or fleet, then it would be an act of treason. Durov doesn’t care and decides to launch missiles. From the headquarters, Glass has orders to fire at the warship. He keeps the men ready to fire but waits. Durov fires his missiles, and it comes close to the submarine, but the Russian warship shoots the missiles, saving the USS Arkansas. The warship changes direction and fires at Polyarny, and the command center blows up.

The crew inside the USS Arkansas congratulates each other. Zakarin asks Glass how he knew they would be saved, and Glass admits he didn’t, but he hoped. The Russian fleet is backing up, and Jane tells the team they are taking orders directly from Zakarin. Marty and Billy board the USS Arkansas, and Glass and Andropov say goodbye. Andropov appreciates Glass for making the right decisions, and nobody else in his position would have done that. Glass points out that he knew, and Andropov would be that other person who would have made the same choices. Glass gives him his lucky coin to Andropov.

In the end, two submarine Captains save two nations from going to war. Glass gives Andropov his lucky coin, which is his way of showing respect and thanking Andropov for everything he has done. The film also represents dire war-like situations and many elements at play. The US President and Donnegan want to protect their people by choosing violent methods. Glass and others on the ground have a more humane outlook, as everyone involved knows how ugly things might get. In the end, humanity saves them from war.

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Hunter Killer (2018) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
The Cast of Hunter Killer (2018) Movie: Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, Toby Stephens
Hunter Killer (2018) Movie Genre: Action/Mystery & thriller, Runtime: 2h 1m
Where to watch Hunter Killer

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