Neeson’s Cold Pursuit is the typical cringy, B-movie schlock

by Megan Bianco

With the release of Hans Petter Moland’s “Cold Pursuit,” we have the most recent occurrence of a filmmaker remaking his own film. In the past, we’ve seen this from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1934 and 1956); Frank Capra’s “Broadway Bill” (1934) and “Riding High” (1950); Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (1989) and “Match Point” (2005); and Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games” (1997 and 2007).

Next month we’ll see Sebastián Lelio remake his original Chilean film “Gloria” (2013) into a Hollywood version with Julianne Moore called “Gloria Bell.” Like with Lelio’s films, “Cold Pursuit” is a Hollywood remake of his 2014 Norwegian dark action comedy, “In Order of Disappearance.” One may assume this was a direct offer from StudioCanal to Moland after the original film did well internationally. It’s allegedly the final “old man takes violent revenge on bad guys” action flick that Liam Neeson claims he plans to make. It’s also the same movie where Neeson made his most recent controversial racial comments during the press tour, which is unfortunate for the rest of the film’s team. But enough back story. How is the movie itself?

In mid-winter Colorado, Nel Coxman (Neeson) is a popular snowplow driver who has just won Citizen of the Year from his town locals. He lives comfortably right outside the city with wife Grace (Laura Dern) and son Kyle (Neeson’s real-life son Michael Richardson). When Kyle doesn’t return home from work one day, Nel and Grace learn that he’s died from a drug overdose. Not convinced that his son is drug fiend, he discovers that Kyle foolishly got involved with a cocaine cartel. Now he’s out to give the drug lords a piece of their own medicine.

Emmy Rossum and John Doman play local cops who are also tracking down rival drug cartels. Like its predecessor, “Cold Pursuit” is much more a dark comedy than a straight dramatic action feature. The cast and crew are clearly having a good time and not taking it too seriously. The violence is over the top and indulgent, but not worse than a Scorsese or Tarantino film.

English actor Tom Bateman as the head cokepin has already one of the year’s hammiest, flamboyant, Razzie-worthy performances. Neeson is his usual brooding, stiff self, and Dern is almost completely wasted with barely 15 minutes on screen. There are some decently morbid chuckles through the death sequences, but the sexual humor is mostly cringe-inducing. It’s hard to give a genuine recommendation for Moland’s updated effort.

If you’re into B-movie schlock with barely any character development or just like seeing Neeson do his usual schtick, you might be intrigued with “Cold Pursuit.”

Megan Bianco

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