Director: Hans Petter Moland
Every family has a film thing yes? Some shared collection of actors, genres and in-jokes that bind you all together in front of the screen out of all proportion to the quality of the actual films involved. I’m not talking Bergman or Roma, but an unaccountable affinity for the Police Academies, Eddie Murphy films, all the Die Hards or in our case perplexingly the Liam Limp Revengers. The Commuter, Non-Stop,Taken 1 and 2 (even younger moles will agree 3 is unwatchable), Unknown (slightly out of genre), Run All Night. These by no stretch of the imagination are good movies. But they bind the two siblings together and I’m happy to ride along, Ms Moles slightly less so and in fact they form a sub-category of ‘When she’s away’ watches along with Battlestar Galactica, the Die Hards etc.
So we all trooped along to the multiplex to watch the latest entrant, Hard Powder, sorry Cold Pursuit, sorry the Film that Liam was Meant To Be Talking About when he went Wierdly Racist on Us. Perhaps the furore has overshadowed this, as we saw it in the company of about 20 people in a cinema that sits 150 on a Sat night. The trailer certainly put it squarely in the Grand Tradition of ‘Where is my daughter’ Liam-ers and so it is for the first half-hour.
In grand 80s high concept style the tag line is ‘Taken on a snowplough’ if you will. Liam just wants to keep the roads clear, but they’ve killed his kid and he’s going to enact frozen vengeance on their asses. So it goes for the first thirty minutes: Liam getting the phone call, Liam IDing his son, Liam drinking and thinking about ending it all, Liam not sharing his feelings with his wife, Liam changing tack and decided kill em all (son is offed by evil drug gang) is the only way to redemption.
But around the 45 minutes mark (around the second bad guy offing) the first nervous laugh emerges. The vibe is mutating from This Shit Got Real They Killed His Son to…well think Minnesota, think a hapless guy who just happens to cause untold mayhem in a frozen small town and the bodies pile up. By half-way through, when we’re up to bad guy number four, the tone has shifted to a mash-up of Coens in thriller mode and Tarantino. Liam’s to-do list (1. Kill them all) has caused a drugs turf war between Viking and ‘the Indians’ (yes its a throwback to dubious profiling of 90s Tarantino too.)
OTT head bad guy with OTT character tics – check. Here its Tom Bateman essaying his Marcellus Wallace, all motivational speeches and smiles one second, psycho violence the next.
Quirky and a bit useless supporting bad guys – check. There is one spectacularly dumb and dumber gag that ends the whole thing.
Borderline racist ‘funny minor characters’ – yep, check out the black hitman ‘from the hood’ and the Thai former masseuse with her funny grasp of English.
Ironic intertitles – check. In fact the whole movie works towards one not bad intertitle gag that I won’t give away. Been done before but works here.
Clueless cops. Check.
Snappy lines. Check-ish.
An overall whimsical tone intercut with moments of savage brutality – check.
However, Liam doesn’t do irony or stylised to save his life. While all around him are smirking and snapping, he’s blundering forward with his dead stare and ‘particular set of skills’. The plot-line with the head gangster’s young son will have you boggling at Liam’s attempts to get with all this. The Norwegian director trying to remake his movie reckoned without the Power of the Limp in the focus groups.
Cold Pursuit is not a good movie, but it is extremely entertaining and at times will have you WTF-ing at how those wanting another Liam Limper (spoiler: no limp this time round) could have thought that crowbarring him into this caper could have been the answer. Ms Moles loved it.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
Gosh let’s see, well vigilante revenge thrillers. Those who like seeing the tropes of the 90s ironic thriller shamelessly plundered.