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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 15, 2019

Cold Pursuit Movie Review: Remake Of A Norwegian Revenge Drama Laced With Dark & Twisted Humor

LIAM NEESON, still the late blooming action star at 66, stars in yet another revenge drama, this time laced with dark humor, in “Cold Pursuit”. He plays Nels Coxman, a snowplow driver in a resort town, Kehoe, in the Rocky Mountains. He lives a quiet life and was just awarded as Citizen of the year for keeping their snow-filled roads clear even during blizzards.

But his quiet life turns upside down when his son Kyle (played by his own real life son, Micheal Richardson, from his late wife Natasha Richardson) dies from drug overdose. He gets so depressed, thinking he didn’t really know his son.

He’s about to shoot himself when he learns the truth from his son’s friend, with whom his son worked as a baggage handler in the Denver airport, that his son was actually murdered by a drug syndicate. He then becomes a vigilante warrior who stalks and kills various members of the syndicate named Speedo, Limbo and Santa.

The leader of the drug cartel, Trevor Calcote aka Viking (Tom Bateman of the TV series “Da Vinci’s Demons”), thinks the killings were caused by a rival syndicate of Native American Indians led by White Bull (Tom Jackson). Viking kills White Bull’s only son and this leads to a gang war between the two drug traffickers, which escalates the film’s body count that is listed down on screen every time there is a killing, complete with little crosses as some sort of R.I.P.

When Viking finds out its actually Liam Neeson who killed his men, he tries to call off the gang war but White Bull is so bent on seeking vengeance by seeking Viking’s own son, Ryan, a smart little boy who loves classical music (Nicholas Holmes), to pay for the death of his own son. But Liam has already kidnapped Ryan and this leads to a climactic battle and showdown in the snow between the drug lords and Liam which, we think, could have been better blocked and executed.

The movie is the Hollywood directorial debut of Hans Peter Moland, a Norwegian who based it on his own Norwegian film, “In Order of Disappearance”. He treats the material with a wry and morbid kind of playfulness, making some of the killing even somewhat oddly hilarious, like that of a hitman named Eskimo who certainly deserves what he gets. There’s even unexpected homosexual romance between two thugs and a dick joke about another thug who exposes himself to chambermaids in motels and later gets the comeuppance he rightfully deserves.

Liam has perfected this kind of stoic hero role down cold after having developed a knack for playing action leads late in his career in 2008’s “Taken”. Bateman doesn’t measure up to him as the main villain but the death scene he gets will be truly satisfying for those who enjoy violence and vengeance. Laura Dern plays Liam’s grieving wife, but it really isn’t much of a role as vanishes quickly.

William Forsythe also has a short but decent guest role as Liam’s older brother, WIngman, who’s married to a cheap Asian masseuse, while Emmy Rossum and John Dornan provide some kind of comic relief as two mismatched law enforcers who are underutilized as they don’t really get to do anything.

Nicholas Holmes as the precocious Ryan is surely one of the most adorable kid actors who’ve appeared on screen for a while and the scene where he asks Liam Neeson if he has heard of the Stockholm syndrome is really so funny.