'Cold Pursuit' Is a Clunky Revenge Film With a Boring, Sloppily Written Story
No spoilers, but come on...
AARRRUGGGHHH, it's The Foreigner all over again!
Today, I decided to take a trip to the movie theater and watch two new movies. One of them was The Lego Movie 2, and the other one was Liam Neeson's newest action film.
Before we begin my review, I'm not gonna let the recent controversy around Neeson impair my judgment on the film. What he did 40 years ago has nothing to do with the quality of this film, so this is the last time I'll bring it up.
Here We Go!
Cold Pursuit is a black comedy action film written by Frank Baldwin and directed by Hans Petter Moland. The film is a remake of the Norwegian film, In Order of Disappearance, and it stars Liam Neeson as a snowplow driver-turned-vigilante after his son is murdered by a gang.
Now, I love a good Neeson action film. Films like Taken and The Commuter are some of my favorites of his. And when the first trailer came out, something about the movie just didn't look that good to me.
But then, early reviews of the movie were generally positive. The film currently holds a 74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and since that grade is better than Taken, I assumed that this might be better than Taken.
WOW, I was wrong. Yeah, I did not enjoy this movie at all. It's in the top 20 worst films I've ever seen, and I'm gonna tell you why, but first, I'm gonna have to start with the positives.
What was good about this movie? Liam Neeson gives a good performance, despite the fact that he's essentially playing the same character he's been playing for the past 11 years. This is just another "badass looking for revenge" role, and it's hard for him to NOT play that role well.
And ... uh .... that's it for the positives. A good Neeson performance. Not a great one. A good one. Now, let's get to what I hated about this film.
Okay, so I'm not gonna lie, I found a fair bit of entertainment in the first 30 to 40 minutes of the movie. It was just Neeson finding out about his son's death and then going to kill the people who did it. It was just what I wanted from a Neeson action film.
But after that, the film just went downhill and every single extra minute this movie was taking from my valuable time started to eat away at my soul.
After the first act, Neeson's character pretty much vanishes from the screen. He only appears again from time to time, and the rest of the movie is pretty much focused on three more little subplots: we have the "bad guys" subplots, the "Native Americans" subplot, and the "police officers" subplot.
None of these subplots were included in the trailer. After the first 30 minutes when we have a good amount of action, there's almost no action for the rest of the movie. It's just various people talking to each other.
So yeah, you were expecting a revenge movie starring Liam Neeson as pretty much his character from Taken, killing bad guys left and right? Turns out Neeson is barely in this movie at all.
And this is the danger of misleading marketing. I mentioned The Foreigner at the beginning of the article, and I think these films are similar.
Both movies have trailers advertising a film in which a man loses their child to the bad guys, and they have to become a vigilante and kill the people who did it. These trailers have action in them, but it's essentially all the action that there is in the film.
After the first act, which is where 90 percent of the trailer footage is from, the movie takes a hard left and starts focusing on other people standing in rooms and talking while the "action hero" appears in about three more scenes for the rest of the film.
This movie disappointed me with how much focus is drawn away from Neeson's revenge plot and how much focus is put on this very strange story about the gang members who end up in a serious rivalry with a group of Native American drug dealers.
Did you know that there were Native American drug dealers in this movie? No, because they weren't in the trailers, but I think they might have MORE screen time than Liam Neeson in this movie.
So much of this film is just filler. A bunch of unnecessary scenes that I did not give two shits about all included to pad the movie's runtime. This movie is not a revenge movie. It's just a ... what the hell is this movie?
I mean, it's an "action film," but there are about five total minutes of action in this movie.
Even the action scenes in the film are completely forgettable. The first few are just Neeson punching people over and over and over and over again. Then, the movie's big climax is a shootout in which Neeson kills somewhere between zero and one person.
Nothing about this movie is memorable at all. The action is almost nonexistent and forgettable, and so much of this movie is just the bad guys talking about what to do, the Native Americans talking about what to do, and the police doing ... god knows what.
Who's that? That's Laura Dern. You may know her from films such as Jurassic Park and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Yeah, she's in the first act of this movie and then she vanishes without a trace. I don't know what happened to her character, but she just disappeared to thin air about 40 minutes in.
Neeson's character also doesn't have any arc at all. He goes from "normal snowplow driver" to "ruthless vigilante" in the span of about three minutes, and then after that, Neeson is just either killing people or talking to people.
This movie has a very ridiculous, boring plot that I didn't care about. I wanted to see Liam Neeson inventing new ways to kill bad guys, and I didn't want to see a movie more appropriately called Bad Guys vs. Indians.
I cannot believe a movie with bad action, subpar comedy, a bad story, a nonexistent protagonist, and not a single character arc could receive such positive reviews from critics.
Now, this isn't the worst Liam Neeson movie I've seen (that award goes to Taken 3). This movie has entertaining moments in it, no doubt, but so much of this film is just a bland story filled with pointless scenes and very little Liam Neeson.
The characters are so forgettable and one-dimensional that they might as well have been walking signs reading "GOOD GUY" and "BAD GUY."
This film also has a lot of missed opportunities. There's a scene in which Neeson's character is driving away from two bad guys, and I was like, "Yes! We're about to have an awesome car chase!"
But no, he loses the bad guys in approximately ten seconds. No joke, I was gearing up for a thrilling action sequence only to have the bad guys lose Neeson as soon as it started.
I also noticed some strange editing choices in the film. There are some scenes in the movie where the camera cuts and it takes me a second to realize the scene actually changed, and some scenes feel like they end right in the middle of a scripted conversation.
This movie is ... a mess. I can't believe it's getting positive reviews. It's a bad movie with entertaining parts, but so much of the movie is focused on the bad guys and the Native Americans, and as a result, you nearly forget that Liam Neeson is supposed to be the main protagonist.
I'm gonna give 'Cold Pursuit' a 6.2/10.
Why a 6.2? This movie didn't put me to sleep, nor did it make me want to kill myself. The story, while drab and uninteresting, never became convoluted nor did it ever put me to sleep.
And like I said, parts of the film are entertaining enough, but I don't recommend this movie. This is a disappointing film and believe it or not, I liked Taken 2 more than this film.
Thank you for reading.