Year Released: 2019
Directed by: Hans Petter Moland
Starring: Liam Neeson, Tom Bateman, Tom Jackson, Laura Dern
(R, 118 min.)
Genre: Action and Adventure, Drama, Mystery and Suspense
“Malice sucks up the greatest part of its own venom and poisons itself.” Michel de Montaigne
What is it with Liam Neeson and snow filled flicks? He should avoid them like the plague. Like The Grey, which fooled the feckless critics always looking for profundity in sophomoric scripts, this one is also pretty worthless.
Here is the so-called plot in a nutshell:
Cold Pursuit, an action thriller infused with irreverent humor, stars Liam Neeson as Nels Coxman, a family man whose quiet life with his wife (Laura Dern) is upended following the mysterious death of their son. Nels' search for justice turns into a vengeful hunt for Viking (Tom Bateman), a drug lord he believes is connected to the death. As one by one of Viking's associates "disappear," Nels goes from upstanding citizen to ice-cold vigilante, letting nothing -- and no one -- get in his way.
“An action thriller infused with irreverent humor” should more accurately read “another sordid saga using violent death for a punch line.”
Sure, Different Drummer is not against a few bon mots over a righteous death. Roger Moore’s 007 was probably the best, but Bond killed only when he had to and actually seemed to have a distaste for it – tattering up his tux and needlessly bloodying his starched white shirt and all that.
And yes, one can’t help but feel some mild amusement over the bizarrely creative ends meted out to victims in Midsomer Murders, my favorite being a diary worker crushed by a giant round of weaponized cheese.
But Cold Pursuit can’t seem to find its voice, and Liam Neeson, who has the violent righteous indignation he first premiered in 2009’s Taken down pat, just doesn’t resonate here with all the Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Fargo nonchalant violence.
Cold Pursuit is, after all, a “warmed over” or should I say a thawed and then refrozen version of In Order Of Disappearance, a Skandanavian noir film from 2014. The remake even brought along its original Norwegian director (Hans Petter Moland) to reshoot it in America – Colorado and the outskirts of Denver standing in for Norway.
Don’t they always warn you against refreezing what you have thawed? But American film makers, who have long run out of creative ideas, can’t resist making over successful foreign films. Mostly they suck, excuse the crude term.
To name a few:
Mostly Martha (German: “sweet and subtle”)
American Remake: No Reservations (“Designed to manipulate our emotions”)
The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina: “an exquisite slow tango”)
American Remake The Secret in Their Eyes (“messes up the central romance, “ “A pointless remake”)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish: “solid plot, captivating characters”)
American “Remake” The Girl in the Spider’s Web (“like a taste of dour cotton candy”)
Don’t get me wrong. Not a bad way to while away a few hours in the theater, but not anywhere near these other frozen treats:
2 1/2 Drums
The amount of snow in this film, its depth, breadth, and icy determination seems to permeate the souls of all the characters, even the “Man of the Year” protagonist out to avenge his son’s death.
Let’s keep with that theme, but we can lighten up a bit with this delicious Snow Plow Cocktail, brimming over with hot chocolate, fortified with Bailey Irish Cream, rum, and a mountain of whipped cream. Certainly not a drink any of the testosterone-charged villains nor their stonehearted pursuer would indulge in, but who cares.
And even if you forgo the film, try this wonderful way to say goodbye to winter – we hope. Better yet, stay home in your slippers and watch it on Vudu, where it is now available.
Snow Plow Cocktail
8 oz. hot chocolate
1 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 oz. coconut rum
1 dash cinnamon or chocolate sprinkles
1.5 oz. whipped cream
Use a glass mug for Snowplow drink recipe
Mix hot chocolate to taste, add booze, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.