Film: Cold Pursuit
Starring: Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Emma Rossum Tom Bateman, William Forsyth’s
Director: Hans Petter Moland
Review: Podcast Detroit: Can We Talk
Rating: 2.5X’s out of 5X’s
Violence begets violence. That’s usually the theme of every revenge/espionage/adventure/action film starring all-around badass Liam Nesson. The story may be a bit different this time around but it’s the execution that raises eyebrows. “Cold Pursuit” is a dark, offbeat action comedy (emphasizing the words “dark” and “offbeat”) about a snowplow driver named “Nels” who exacts revenge on the thugs responsible for his son “planted” heroin overdose and death. The thing that sets this film apart from a “Taken” or “Run All Night” is the odd way Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland (here remaking his original Norwegian film “In Order of Disapperance”) balances the tone between action and comedy. The violence is brutal and swift but the comedic moments—or moments “meant” to be comedic—are a tad bewildering. Director Moland manages to find humor in the strangest of places: pulling out a body in a morgue viewing, failed strangulations and an overpowering nutrition-freak drug dealer telling his young son to cut back on “high fructose” treats. The imbalance of tone here makes for an unsettling, “head-scratching” viewing experience; the result is a script that may have needed a few rewrites to cater to an American audience. As stated before, the story is simple: there a few surprises as the plot treads but nothing other than what’s expected in the usual double-cross and final gunfight. Neeson remains strong as the lead; Laura Dern, while also strong, is almost AWOL as Nels’s grieving wife Grace; Tom Bateman tries his best - or maybe his worst - as the film’s antagonist Viking; William Forsythe is witty as Nels’ brother “Wingman”; this film’s real crime, however, is the horrible undervalued use of Emmy Rossum as local detective “Kimberly Dash”. “Cold Pursuit” may leave an impression with its unorthodox tone but as far as story goes, it’s nothing groundbreaking.