Cold Pursuit, Movie Review
Right when you think watching Liam Neeson go on his vindicated killing spree regularly for 10 years is bound to get boring, he goes and does a thing like Cold Pursuit. This remake of a 2014 Norwegian film still fits the bill for the implausible, yet it flips the script by being a revenge thriller with a dark sense of humor. It’s in on the joke of senseless deaths, but don’t think for one second that Neeson goes easy on the bad guys.
He plays Nels Coxman, a not too talkative father and husband who owns a snowplowing business in the ski resort town of Kehoe, Colorado. His service of making lanes for those to travel on is a big part of why he wins Citizen of the Year. Don’t be fooled. Neeson’s particular set of skills come out in a hurry when his son Kyle (played by Neeson’s real-life son, Micheál Richardson) is found dead from a drug overdose. Though Kyle was no druggie and his father knows that. The same can’t be said for Kyle’s mother, Grace (a shamefully underused Laura Dern), who can’t get over that they may have never known their son at all and bolts on Coxman.
Feeling like he has nothing to live for, Coxman is set on suicide until he finds out his son was used to send a message from a Denver drug mob headed up by a kingpin named Viking – played by Tom Bateman with hastiness and viciousness. We know what happens next. Coxman is going to get his vengeance one-by-one until there are none left.
However, as the bodies pile-up, a rivalry is reborn between Viking and White Bull (Tom Jackson), a chief with his own drug operation who must kill Viking’s young son (Nicholas Holmes) since Viking killed his. It’s only fair considering Viking has a nasty habit of killing sons. And while it definitely feels like a lawless land in Cold Pursuit, there is a rookie cop (Emmy Rossum) hot on their trail, but she’s the only one in uniform who gives a damn.
As the director of In Order of Disappearance – the original film this one is based on – Hans Petter Moland returns to his snowbound chiller where the blend of action and humor heightens the narrative fabulously. There’s no doubt this one has an icy heart, nonetheless there’s warmth to be felt, particularly towards the end. Letting Neeson run wild is always a sight to see, but him doing it with tongue in cheek is even better. And believe it or not, he is not the one who does most of the murdering. Your state of shock is well-understood.
You won’t want to miss Coxman’s brother (William Forsythe) who loves trouble but loves his wife more, the cockamamie nicknames that every villain has to have and then watching each of those names pop up on screen for a split second memorial as they meet their maker. All of the screwy characters go from brutality in one scene to being playful in the next – a fucked-up kinda Fargo fun that Moland, Neeson and the rest of the lot are total game for.
Cold Pursuit is unapologetically having a bloody good time.
“Nature Boy” Brandon Vick is the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and star of Brandon’s Box Office In Your Mouth. Follow him on Twitter @SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.