The Liam Neeson action/thriller genre began 10 years ago with “Taken”. Over the past decade, he’s starred in a dozen or so movies in which his character seeks revenge over something that has really ticked him off.
“Cold Pursuit” is directed by Hans Petter Moland and is based on his 2014 Norwegian film “In Order of Disappearance”.Neeson plays Nels Coxman, a snow plow truck driver in the fictional ski resort town of Kehoe, Colorado. Coxman is named Kehoe Citizen of the Year the same night his son, an airport baggage worker, is… “Taken”,drugged and killed. When Coxman learns what happened, he begins looking for those responsible.
“Cold Pursuit” is a dark comedy reminiscent of the Coen brothers’ “Fargo” with quite the body count. Some have dubbed the movie “Taken”on ice. Each kill is memorialized on-screen with a tally that lists the character’s name and their oddball nickname. There’s plenty of action, good performances, and a refreshing humorous twist that breaks away from Neeson’s formulaic past.
Cold Pursuit” attempts to be “Pulp Fiction” meets “Fargo”. Frank Baldwin’s feature film debut screenplay is overly cute and clever, mixing broad humor with intentionally shocking ultra-violence.
There’s scene in which we get to watch a small dog defecate. There’s the obligatory severed human head in a box. And jokes include a group of Native Americans attempting to check into a hotel without a “reservation” followed with a Yelp jab.
The surprisingly thin plot line is stretched-out to two hours as characters ge tintroduced… and quickly killed-off. With Neeson sitting out good chunks of the middle as the focus shifts to the two gangs going head to head.
Tom Bateman gives quite a performance in any film in years as “Viking”, a drug kingpin and Coxman’s ultimate target he’s basically a Quentin Tarantino clone.John Doman and Emmy Rossum play the predictably clueless local police officers– always two steps behind.
Neeson’s Coxman is rather mild-mannered here even in the limited screen time he shares with wife Laura Dern. He seems to be on the finish line here in terms of making revenge thrillers, given his age I’d say it time and a welcome steak in long standing streak.
R (for strong violence, drug material, and some language including sexual references)
Not sure why sexual references were listed last since it was quite graphic throughout here. Mostly referring to encounters. There is also a clip with two men kissing, there is a bit of warning thankfully.
REVIEW SCORE/ B