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Review: Cold Pursuit

Cold Pursuit
7 10

PLOT: A snowplow driver seeks revenge against those involved in his son’s death. Unfortunately for the grief-stricken father, he finds himself in a sea of bad guys and rivaling drug dealers that could lead to his own demise.

REVIEW: If you take a look at the trailer for COLD PURSUIT, the latest from Liam Neeson, you may have the wrong idea of what the movie is going to be. If you are looking for another TAKEN or NON-STOP, you may be more than a little surprised. While the film does focus on a snowplow driver seeking revenge against a few nasty drug dealers whom he believes killed his son, it isn’t the Neeson action flick you're accustomed to. In fact, if  you are looking for a more appropriate comparison, the Hans Petter Moland feature feels more like FARGO than any other action project from the actor famous for taking down a variety of fictional bad guys. From the way the film announces its body count, to the many bizarre and unique traits the film’s characters have, there is pitch black humor abound. Frankly, this brutal revenge tale relies on it.

Liam Neeson is Nels Coxman (and yes, there are jokes about the name). He has a happy life with his wife Grace (Laura Dern) and their only son Kyle (Micheál Richardson). When Kyle ends up dead from a heroin overdose, Grace and her husband face the tragic situation very differently. As their relationship falls apart, Nels grows increasingly weary of the idea that his son may have been an addict. Instead of disappearing in grief, he digs deeper into it and discovers that a group of drug dealers may have murdered his boy. Soon, he begins to leave a bloody trail of bodies, all of which work for a sleazy and powerful dealer named Viking (Tom Bateman). Yet things get more complicated when Viking and his men mistakenly take out the son of White Bull (Tom Jackson), the leader of a rival group of Native American criminals. As the situation builds, so does the massive body count.

cold pursuit liam neeson hans petter moland remake in order of disappearance emmy rossum william forsythe tom bateman thriller joblo.com action dark comedy 2019If there is one thing that is not surprising about COLD PURSUIT, it’s that it is a remake of a foreign film. It follows a very curious pace that is unusual in modern action thrillers. The original feature, IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE starring Stellan Skarsgård, appears to follow the exact same storyline. In fact, both films happen to be directed by Moland. While I’ve yet to see the 2014 take, judging from the DISAPPEARANCE trailer, it looks far more like a shot for shot remake - and the comedic angle is more obvious than it is for the trailer of COLD PURSUIT. This tale is a pitch black comedic thriller through and through, with a deliberate and slow pace where the filmmaker crowds the story with several quirky characters, all of whom are closing in on each other.

Liam Neeson is terrific here. As is his on-screen wife, Laura Dern. In fact, one of my biggest complaints is that Ms. Dern doesn’t have much material to work with, and is rarely utilized. However, their relationship is - like many of the storylines that merge - a very small part of the big picture. Ultimately this is a showdown between Neeson’s Coxman, and Bateman’s cruel and murderous Viking. Yet even Bateman's crime lord is shown in a comically unique light as a man dealing with his ex-wife Aya (Julia Jones) and their child Ryan (Nicholas Holmes). The family dynamic between the three of them, as well as Viking’s henchmen who also double as babysitters, is strangely appealing. Considering the vicious nature of Viking, he is one hell of a demanding dad when it comes to his son’s nutritional needs and the way he handles bullies. Again, the comedic focus is pretty clear, even when young Ryan is in harms way.

cold pursuit liam neeson laura dern emmy rossum william forsythe tom bateman hans petter moland remake in order of disappearance thriller dark comedy action 2019 dramaThis collection of characters offers up a bunch of almost hilariously stereotypcial criminal types, all with cool nicknames. This includes Mustang (Domenick Lombardozzi), Dexter (Benjamin Hollingsworth), Smoke (Nathaniel Arcand), War Dog (Glen Gould), Limbo (Bradley Stryker) and a ton of others. The biggest issue here is that there are so many of them crammed into this story, that they become a bit redundant and tend to take attention away from the main idea. Still, the occasional side lining can be enjoyable. Whether it is the surprising friendship between Dexter and Mustang, or a hitman without ethics named Eskimo (Arnold Pinnock), the occasionally excursion didn't always hurt. As well, it was entertaining watching the idealistic police officer (Emmy Rossum) uncover the obvious, as she desperately wants to keep their little resort town crime free. And when nearly all of the many characters intersect, it leads to a mostly satisfying conclusion.

If you are going in to COLD PURSUIT hoping for a tense and thrilling action film like TAKEN, you will likely be disappointed. This is a pitch black, comedically heavy revenge tale, with a decent dose of violence, and yet another solid performance from Neeson. It is filled with an abundance of supporting characters, which at times distracts from the story at hand. This is especially true through the middle half of the feature. While it appears that this remake of IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE is nearly identical to the 2014 version - as mentioned, both are directed by Hans Petter Moland - it is still an fun excursion. The score by George Fenton is compelling, the script by Frank Baldwin is sharp, and all the actors do nice work - even if some don’t really add much to the plot. If you go in with the right frame of mind, you’ll probably find quite a bit to enjoy in this snowy, blood-covered, and darkly comedic thriller.

Source: JoBlo.com

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