Cold Pursuit

COLD PURSUIT drags to its blessed finish after wasting its sleepwalking star, a $60,000,000 budget and 118 minutes of your time, wading through violent, stupid, badly acted, horribly written dreck. Tasked with coming up with black comedy revenge-kill yocks redolent of Tarantino (or his army of wannabes) and maybe John Wick, debut screenwriter Frank Baldwin fails utterly. Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland made his Hollywood debut here, remaking his 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance (Kraftidioten), which must be better than this. For Liam Neeson, it’s yet another in his arsenal of usually kickass vengeance or survival missions: can this rancid bottom-feeder please be the last? By a rifle-shot mile, it certainly is the worst.

In a Rocky Mountains ski resort town outside Denver, snowplow driver ‘Nels Coxman’ (Neeson, 66) switches from blasting drifts to spewing blood when his son is murdered by area coke dealers. Killing his way up the snort chain entails dispatching scumbag underlings, each of them outfitted with a nickname. His wife (Laura Dern, wasted) bails early, and focus shifts away from Neeson (walking through it) to the lead creep, maniacally overacted by Tom Bateman. What seems like a dead-serious (if unlikely) drama at the outset reveals itself to be a pitch-black comedy. Minus laughs. The terminally unfunny, offensive riffs that are meant to be ” sick cute” are anvil-heavy, and the slaughter stats become monotonous. At least, the script is equal opportunity, in that it has something to denigrate everyone within reach.

Though set in Colorado, it was shot in British Colombia, Alberta and Manitoba, which provide winter scenery for the one good aspect of the film, Philip Øgaard’s cinematography. That this crud managed to get some decent reviews is disheartening. Ranking 77th in the States in 2019, it earned $76,200,000 worldwide, not enough measured next to the price tag.

With William Forsythe, Emmy Rossum, Dominick Lombardozzi, Tom Jackson, Julia Jones, John Doman, Nicholas Holmes, David O’Hara, Elizabeth Thai.

 

 

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