Cold Pursuit

Movie critics are hard to figure out. For example, they all hated Bruce Willis’ remake of Death Wish. It wasn’t a great film, but it was a guilty pleasure revenge flick. Yet this revenge movie, is getting great reviews from critics — and it’s awful.

I was tempted to make jokes about the kind of people Liam Neeson was going after in this movie, because of his recent statements that got him into trouble. But the truth is, that incident he said happened decades ago and he’s a changed person. It’s hard not to believe him (even if he had a weird way of explaining it). And if society can still support Mel Gibson movies, or Michael Jackson music — after the horrific things those two did — it’s a shame that his comments might hurt this film. Instead, this movie should be hurt at the box office by the fact that it’s crap. It has jokes that aren’t funny; scenarios that don’t seem the least bit plausible; and didn’t Liam Neeson say a few years ago, that he was done doing these types of flicks? Seriously, is he the only 66-year-old around with this special sets of skills?

Now, I can’t say I didn’t think of Neeson’s comments while watching this movie, because there’s a black character that’s a hitman (Arnold Pinnock). One of the head druglords corrects him on how to say “ask” and not “ax” and not to say “I tries” when he means “I try.” And, the amount of racist and sexist stuff in the movie…is just odd. Especially when they’re mixed in with jokes that never land. Here’s an example of the lame attempts at humor — Neeson’s brother is married to an Asian woman who doesn’t speak English. She merely yells at them loudly, flips him off while filing her nails, and we’re told he met her at a massage parlor. Oh, and the brothers have the last name “Coxman” so, we’re supposed to giggle when we hear that, or when other characters make fun of the name.

Nels Coxman (Neeson) drives a snow plow in the Rocky Mountain area of Colorado. He’s been awarded “Citizen of the Year” because, well….if you keep cars from being stuck in snow, who else would get the award? His wife is played by the criminally underused Laura Dern. Neither says a lot to each other, and they say even less when their son ends up being murdered by drug thugs.

The head drug lord is Trevor “Viking” Calcote (Murder on the Orient Express). He sounds like Bill Hader doing an impression of Heath Ledger playing the Joker. The things he said, and the tone of his voice, made me think this was supposed to be satire. It was just so stupid, listening to him talk to his son about bullies at school, or telling his ex-wife why the kid can’t eat certain foods that aren’t healthy.

Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland (A Conspiracy of Faith) is remaking his own movie from five years ago (Kraftidioten).

It’s so baffling how Moland thought any of the things in this were funny. We’re supposed to laugh at parents identifying their child in a morgue, because the body was low and they had to hear an annoying squeaking sound as the attendant brings it up to eye level? And really, what people at the morgue would know that soon, that he died of a heroin overdose; or would, when the parent says, “He wasn’t a druggie” respond with, “All the parents say that.”

Seriously, why didn’t Mr. Coxman go all Liam Neeson on them at that point?

So early on in the film, I was starting to check out. Once Mrs. Coxman came downstairs, angry at her husband for not knowing their kid had a Facebook page, or what his favorite band was on it…you really start to wonder who even wrote this garbage.

Anyway, once Coxman starts dispatching of Viking’s crew, they end up thinking it’s the Native American drug lords that they work with. That means there’s going to be a turf war.

There’s a side story with two local cops (Emmy Rossum and John Doman), that usually have nothing interesting to say. He ribs her for having an ex-boyfriend on the Denver police force that she uses for information. She gives it back to him for not knowing anything about these drug dealers, despite him being an officer for 30 years.

Of all the jokes they threw at us, I think I laughed twice. One of those scene involving Viking’s cute son, who knows enough about football to tell a thug his fantasy football team probably shouldn’t have four Cleveland Browns players. I won’t spoil the other funny scene, because at least you’ll have something to look forward to if you do go to see this.

The action scenes were all rather dopey and stuff you’ve seen before. I just kept wondering, with Coxman continually punching these guys in the face, multiple times, how is it he hasn’t broken his hand?

There was a barfing scene, which brings the stat to 76.3% of movies that come out having a throw-up scene. I’m not sure why this continues to be a thing (although seeing a dead Native American hanging from a road sign, would probably do that to an officer, I suppose).

This movie wanted a Fargo, Wind River, Hateful Eight vibe. The only thing it was, was hateful.

1 star out of 5.



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