words Wal Reid
Love him or loathe him, Liam Neeson is the king of comebacks. It doesn’t matter if he’s a commuter on a train or minding his own business, he always gets the bad guy and usually avoids death – He is immortal and just never dies, the internet testimony of this through countless Taken memes, which has seen the actors popularity surge.
Well, he’s back in one hell of an excellent thriller that is steeped in black humour a la Cohen Brothers with an intelligent script that isn’t afraid to take itself seriously. The film sees protagonist (Nel Coxman) Neeson exchange his gun for a snow plow to fight the local drug cartel, its not hard to see the baddies will be coming off second best to Mr Neeson and his metal juggernaut of a beast – it’s a hoot.
Directed by Norwegian Hans Petter Moland, its a remake of a 2014 film he directed with Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard in the lead role. In Cold Pursuit the location has been suitably swapped for the more alpine conditions of the factitious town of Kehoe in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Well, we think it is even though there are countless shots of cars driving to what looks like Denver.
Neeson’s character is dour and wooden as you would expect from a Snow Plow driver and his marriage to his wife (played by the talented Laura Dern) is somewhat jaundiced. Things come unstuck when the local Rocky Mountain drugs cartel, headed up head honcho Viking (Tom Bateman) kill his son Kyle (Michael Richardson Neeson’s real life son), which riles up Mr Plow into Action Gear. Don’t even get me started on the local Native Americans who run the drug scene in Kehoe or the subtle ‘gay kiss’ featured in the movie. You’ll just have to wait and see.
This is probably the only Liam Neeson film I’ve actually honestly enjoyed. From start to finish Moland has crafted a film has given ‘Neeson’ a complete overhaul, a radical departure from his previous heroic formula and one, I have to say, is refreshing. It’s subtle irony was not lost on this reviewer. Laura Dern’s brief appearance is noticeable but she is convincing as the grieving mother. Baddie Englishman Tom Bateman (The Tunnel) is fantastic as Drug Lord Viking. His arrogance and complete disdain for sugar or junk food, and hilarious one liners didn’t go unnoticed. Great to see him step up with this role, he’s not violent but is quite the dastardly villain.
My verdict is simple. If you love a good thriller with lots of dark overtones then Cold Pursuit is a no brainer. Let’s just hope his racial remarks haven’t landed him in too much hot water (s’cuse the pun) It would be a shame if the film was lauded on those merits alone. Cold Pursuit – An action Mortal Engines in the snow with that famous Irish accent – can’t go wrong