Watched Date: 6/11/19
Next up of the films I didn’t get the chance to review a year ago was Cold Pursuit. Revenge movies might be getting tiresome, but it doesn’t when it involves Liam Neeson. I mean, has nobody seen Taken? Cold Pursuit, a remake of 2014 Norwegian thriller In Order of Disappearance with Stellan Skarsgård, once again sees the 67-year-old taking out dudes left to right. How come people still don’t understand that you can not mess with any member of his family or he’ll kill you?
Though despite the controversy Neeson was getting back in February of last year for his racist comments around the time this was released, causing to cancel the red carpet premiere, I was still eager to check out Cold Pursuit since I can enjoy an action movie starring him and get a kick out of it (not the Taken sequels). Hans Petter Moland handling a remake of his own movie that doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be another Taken made it look like a solid idea. Taking place in a fictional ski town called Kehoe in Colorado, Nels Coxman (Neeson) is a hard-working snowplow driver who’s on the revenge path on some drug dealers after the death of his son when it appears it wasn’t just an overdose. Sounds like it could make for a fun action movie, right? To be completely honest, this was a letdown, and this is coming from someone who hasn’t seen the original.
Compared to other Neeson-led action movies that have come out a decade prior, this isn’t the one that’s going to be remembered fondly. However, he isn’t the blame since he did what he can in pulling this character off. What more did you expect from his performance? We already know what he can do, and he was charismatic at best.
Credit to Moland for honestly making a good-looking movie, with Philip Øgaard’s cinematography, that showcases the Colorado mountains and snowy setting. But when it comes to the story from screenwriter Frank Baldwin, it just falls short of being entertaining at times. This might be a faithful adaptation that could be very similar to the original, yet it wanted to be a mesh of something the Coen brothers or Quentin Tarantino would’ve done, and they could with better writing and pacing. But I could’ve got a handle of it because it quickly jumps into Neeson wanting answers and killing off Viking’s men without any real thoughts after his son died. And when any person gets killed, their name appears on the screen.
We go through different characters with subplots that don’t mean jack. There’s the focus on two cops (Emmy Rossum/ John Doman), Viking’s crew, and the Native American mob where I was missing Neeson in any scene. It was almost like he wasn’t the main character after a while. For argument’s sake, the involvements of those subplots were unexpected and didn’t think this was going to occur when watching this, but did we need them? There could’ve been more to do with both Laura Dern and Emmy Rossum, especially Dern, who really didn’t get to do anything as Neeson’s wife and just painfully wasted, disappearing very quickly.
Then there’s Tom Bateman’s performance as the main villain Viking, and this was such an over-the-top performance that couldn’t be taken seriously. Maybe it was intentional because he was using an American accent that was just ridiculous throughout. For me, it bothered me so much that it ruined what tone the movie was trying to aim for.
But the amount of dark humor thrown in here surprised me since I just thought it was gonna be a straightforward crime drama, and because of that, it didn’t work for me. Though, I sort of got why it was there. Most of the scenes that are considered funny usually involve anything violet. Again, some will think quite the opposite. One cut actually did make me laugh just because it caught me off guard.
In the end, I wished Cold Pursuit was better for a Liam Neeson revenge tale. Some good action and he kills it, but it has a story that’s kind of disappointing and dark humor that doesn’t fully hit. Months after I watched it, I thought nothing of it since it wasn’t enough to consider this as some kind of guilty pleasure. Maybe that’s the chase for others. Something that’s easily a rental at best.
Overall Grade: C+