Stars: Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Emmy Rossum, Tom Bateman, Michael Richardson, Michael Eklund and Bradley Stryker
Director: Hans Petter Moland
Scriptwriter: Frank Baldwin based on “In Order Of Disappearance” by Kim Fupz Aakeson
Composer: George Fenton
Cinematography: Philip Ogaard
Rating: R for language and violence
Running Length: 118 Minutes
Winter 2018-2019 has taken over most of the U.S. “Worst winter in 25 years” is what many weather forecasters are saying. So, in 2019, we have two films concerning living in the frozen north. The film, being reviewed here, “Cold Pursuit,” stars Liam Neeson (he of the action-revenge films) in a movie with dark humor and about revenge. It is set in Colorado. The other is “Arctic,” set near the Arctic Circle, and starring Mads Mikkelson, who was once a James Bond villain. “Arctic” is set near the Arctic Circle. “Cold Pursuit” is a remake of the Norwegian film, “Kraftidioten” which was directed by Peter Moland, who also directs this remake. Stellen Skarsgaard starred in the first movie, and Liam Neeson has the lead now.
“Cold Pursuit” is a title with two meanings. It is cold outside, and someone is pursuing someone else. That is just about the plot, also. Liam Neeson films don’t have much plot to them, but the audience likes this man as an action hero, and away he goes. This time, using a snow plow and various implements as weapons. If you have ever come upon from behind, or come face-to-face with a giant snow plow, you know the word “deadly weapon.” Who needs a gun when you can mangle with steel and snow and ice.
As the plot goes, Coxman (Liam Neeson) is a snow plot driver, has a son, Kyle (Micheal Richardson, Neeson’s own son) and Coxman is married to Grace (Laura Dern.) When Kyle dies from a drug overdose, Coxman goes into action to find the responsible parties. This leads him into a three-ring situation. First, the drug dealers led by Viking (Tom Bateman) who has a son Ryan (Nicholas Holmes.) Then, there are the authorities, Detective Dash (Emmy Rossum) and her partner Gio (Josh Doman.) Finally, because of the Native American Reservation nearby, there is White Bull (Tom Jackson), who heads the drug ring there. Drug leaders against each other, Coxman trying to find out who is ultimately responsible or his son’s death, trying to deal with wife, Grace, leaving him, and trying to stay away from the Law. So goes the storyline, and with each bend in the road, there is violence, including beatings, drug overdose, and death by whatever piece of wood or steel is handy. One can lose count.
Even though the plot in Neeson’s films go basically the same route, setting this one in the North Country is a plus. No riding a camel in the desert, no fighting on a freighter, but icy cold and snow that covers a multitude of sins. Liam Neeson is stoic, and lets the rest of the cast have their time with sometimes comic banter. Neeson fans will be satisfied, but Laura Dern is scarcely in the film. This movie gives the words “Made In China” new meaning.
Copyright 2019 Marie Asner