(director: Donovan Marsh; screenwriters: Jamie Moss/Arne Schmidt/based on the novel “Firing Point” by George Wallace and Don Keith; cinematographer: Tom Marais; editor: Michael J. Duthie; music: Trevor Morris; cast: Gerard Butler ( Captain Joe Glass), Gary Oldman (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , Donnergan), Michael Nyqvist (Captain Andropov), Linda Cardellini (Jayne Norquist), Zane Holtz (Paul Martinelli), Caroline Goodall (President Dover), Alexander Dyachenko (Russian President), Mikhail Gorevoy (Defense Minister), Yuri Kolokolnikov (Oleg), Common (Rear admiral John Fisk); Runtime: 122; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Neal H. Moritz, Toby Jaffe, Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel, Tucker Tooley, Mark Gill, John Thompson, Matt O’Toole, Les Weldon; Summit Premiere; 2018)

A middling sea thriller giving off big explosions and no controversy despite the Russians and Americans involved in an incident at sea.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Donovan Marsh (“Avenged”/”Spud”) directs a middling sea thriller giving off big explosions and no controversy despite the Russians and Americans involved in an incident at sea. It features such oddities as a female American president (modeled on Hillary Clinton), a moderate Russian president, and American and Russian military officers closely working together to prevent a nuclear conflict.

It’s based on the 2012 novel Firing Point by George Wallace and Don Keith, with the waterlogged screenplay by Jamie Moss and Arne Schmidt. Near Russia, an American submarine is torpedoed. Sub Captain Joe Glass (Gerard Butler), considered unconventional because he did not attend Annapolis, investigates. He also finds a Russian sub has been sabotaged and opts to rescue its Captain Andropov (Michael Nyqvist) from the ocean bottom. After the rescue of the captain, it’s learned from a team of US Navy SEALs that there’s a coup from a rogue defense minister (Mikhail Gorevoy) underway and they are holding the Russian president (Alexander Diachenko) hostage in another area that’s booby trapped. It also becomes clear the botched coup is responsible for the torpedo attack. The film asks us to believe that the good Russians and Americans can work together to defeat the bad Russians responsible for the coup. At the White House’s Situation Room, the gung-ho war-mongering Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Gary Oldman) is urging the President (Caroline Goodall) to retaliate. But this heavy move might start a nuclear war, so she hesitates. Rear Admiral John Fisk (Common), supported by the NSA advisor (Linda Cardellini), shouts out another plan: to have Glass and the Navy SEALS kidnap the Russian President and bring him safely back on the American sub–which in effect would end the coup. The clunky dialogue, boring and shallow narrative, and the bad acting made this a weak Cold War sub film. The success for the mission seemed artificial, as if it was more like an infomercial for Russian and American cooperation than something real.