If you are going to the new Liam Neeson vigilante film, Cold Pursuit, and expecting a run-of-the-mill Death Wishy storyline, with the difference being that this time it’s a snow-plow driver who takes the law into his own hands, well, you are mostly right; but this movie will surprise you in many zany and eccentric ways.
I really did expect just another Neeson flick in which his kid is killed and he uses his “very particular set of skills that he has acquired over a very long career” to punish the bad guys; and in this case those skills involve lots of heavy equipment.
It sounds rather silly and it is. At first, this film seems ridiculously bad and cliché, but when you realize that it’s more of a spoof than a serious entry in the genre, it transitions into a fun experience in the same wacky vein as something you’d see from the Coen brothers or Quentin Tarantino; although director Hans Petter Moland may be trying a bit too hard to follow in those big footsteps.
Cold Pursuit is actually a re-make of the Norwegian directors 2014 film, In Order of Disappearance (AKA Kraftidioten.) I haven’t seen the original, but I assume it has something going for it if the English language version was greenlit with the same filmmaker at the helm.
In addition to Liam Neeson playing the lead (as Nels Coxman), this film also stars Laura Dern as his less than understanding wife; William Forsythe as his more than understanding brother; and Tom Bateman as the movie’s wackadoodle bad guy, Viking. And as the film’s moniker indicates, the snow and the temperature also play a big part in this movie’s mayhem.
If you’ve seen one vigilante film in the past 50 years, then you already know the plot of this one; but plot is not where the film’s charm lies. Cold Pursuit is self aware of its absurdities and enjoys tinkering with the genre’s DNA; like it’s been processed through a cinematic CRISPR and an amusing misfit came out the other end.
If you know all this going in, then you are likely to enjoy this movie even more than I did. Although I thought it was quite entertaining, it took me a while to adjust to its rhythm; but once you get in tune to the beat it’s a lot of fun. Grade: 7/10