Action Cold Pursuit

Review: In ‘Cold Pursuit,’ Liam Neeson Proves Revenge isn’t a Dish to be Served at Room Temperature

January 30, 2019Ben MK

More often than not nowadays, Liam Neeson has found himself cast as the action lead, making the 66-year-old actor an easy target for critics eager to pigeonhole his next project as yet another revenge-thriller vehicle in the vein of Taken, Non-Stop or The Commuter.

Enter Cold Pursuit, in which Neeson plays a character whose vehicle of choice is a snowplow. As the man appointed with keeping the ski town of Kehoe road-accessible, Nels Coxman's (Neeson) steadfast dedication to his work has earned him the honor of being named citizen of the year. But when his son Kyle (Micheál Richardson), a worker at the town's airport, turns up dead of an apparent heroin overdose, Nels snaps — and unbeknownst to his grieving wife Grace (Laura Dern), he embarks on a mission to find justice, at whatever cost.

Nel's journey takes him into the depths of Kehoe's criminal underworld, where a drug kingpin named Viking (Tom Bateman) will stop at nothing to ensure that he's cornered the market for illicit substances, even if that means going head to head with cartel boss White Bull (Tom Jackson) and his ruthless posse. Little does Viking realize, however, that there's bigger, more deadlier fish to fry. And as Nel's decimates his way through Viking's ranks of henchmen, it's only a matter of time until the two men come face to face.

Directed by Hans Petter Moland, who remakes the film from his own 2014 Norwegian-language thriller, In Order of Disappearance, what follows could easily unfold as little more than your typical cookie-cutter revenge plot. Instead, Cold Pursuit ends up being something much more satisfying and quirky, with Neeson delivering a performance that's both kick-ass and believable, while Moland and screenwriter Frank Baldwin find no shortage of dark and twisted humor in between the violent shootouts and brutal killings.

It all adds up to a refreshing change of pace from the genre norm. After all, most moviegoers should be familiar with the phrase "revenge is a dish best served cold" — but you'd be hard-pressed to think of another film that actually takes that saying literally, let alone one that has such a bloody good time doing so.

Cold Pursuit releases February 8th, 2019 from Elevation Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of R for strong violence, drug material, and some language including sexual references. Its runtime is 1 hr. 58 min.

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