Dir. Hans Petter Moland
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“When you drive the same road day after day, it’s easy to think about the road not taken. I was lucky, I picked a good road early and I stayed on it.”
What happens when you push a quiet, decent family man too far? Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) is a hard-working snow-plough driver who keeps the roads of his home town resort open. But no sooner is he awarded the "Citizen of the Year" life when his life is turned upside down by the murder of his son.
Now with nothing to lose, he goes all out for answers and violent vengeance. Uses his hunting skills and sense of outrage he sets out to dismantle the local drug cartel single-handed. Nels' actions ignite a turf war between a manically unpredictable gangster known as Viking (Tom Bateman) and a rival gang boss - the Native Indian 'White Bull' (Tom Jackson).
Cue a fun snowy Fargo-esque revenge-em-up which gives Neeson the chance to channel his ‘Taken’ persona and put it to better use than the recent cash in action efforts he’s been making. Cold Pursuit is actually a minor classic re-spin of the one man can make a difference plot, the writing is crisp and genuinely funny, the action builds up nicely and the characters each get their own title cards when they die. And lots of people die as the body-count rises throughout and then explodes in a fantastic climactic shootout that is captured in one superb rolling, erm, ‘shot’.
The action cracks along at an engaging pace, and director Moland gets a brilliant, darkly comic performance from Neeson – if you enjoyed ‘In Bruges’ you’ll find plenty to love here. This isn’t a film for the squeamish however as it gets grisly in places and Bateman gives a terrifyingly psychotic turn as Viking.
The chilly snowbound setting keeps it all feeling nicely claustrophobic and whilst you don’t need PhD in cinematic studies to guess the ending – it’s smart and funny enough to put a smile on your face.
meet my little friend...
All the cast put in good performances – the fact that most of them have code names like Speedo, Wingman and Mustang just adds to the madcap nature of it all. The writers manage to cram a rich mix of heartbreak, same-sex relationship drama and macho gangster posturing as well as racist conflict with the American Indians.
For fans of Coen Brothers output and/or Taken style justice action Cold Pursuit is a great Friday night flick that should find a cult following. Worth seeking out.
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(3.5 - Effective brutal revenge thrills on ice...)
Awesomeness ööö – Some memorable scenes
Laughs ööö – The laughs populate the script
Horror ööö – Strong violence
Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Some things are worth fighting for!