'Cold Pursuit' Offers Revenge Served Cold Directed By Hans Petter Moland
Starring Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Michaël Richardson, Tom Bateman, Tom Jackson
Published Feb 08, 2019Amidst scandal around racist revenge fantasy comments, Liam Neeson's latest revenge action/thriller is bound for a fittingly icy reception.
Nels Coxman's (Neeson) son is murdered, and while there's not much information about who his son is or why he's dead, it's very quickly established that Neeson is gonna get his goddamn revenge.
A remake of the Norwegian thriller In Order of Disappearance, Cold Pursuit comes from the same director, Hans Petter Moland. However something about Coxman's murderous journey up the ladder of gangsters and criminals doesn't quite translate.
Where In Order of Disappearance is rooted in a classic Scandinavian stoicism and restrained humour, Cold Pursuit feels all over the map. There's too little information about the characters to be meaningfully invested in them, while the film's attempts to find humour in over-the-top violence rarely land.
What you're left with are repeated jokes and commentary on how "Coxman" is a super funny name, and a drug lord, Viking (Tom Bateman), who is almost cartoonishly "the bad guy." A true monster, Viking does all sorts of dick moves, like ripping cookies out of his son's lunch box and telling him he shouldn't eat glucose or, god forbid, baking soda. He wears a suit, yells into his cell phone and flails his arms a lot too.
It also feels like there's something a little off about most of the supporting characters. The women seem to largely exist in the film to navigate sexual advances (a prop to make it even more clear who the bad guys are) and a rival gang of Native Americans feels similarly underdeveloped.
The only aspect of Cold Pursuit that feels unique or worthwhile is the creative use of snow and snowploughs in actions sequences, and the film's obvious joy in using white backdrops for elaborate splatterings of blood.