Good evening, fellow movie fans! This is my first movie review for the 2019 schedule. Cold Pursuit is an R rated crime thriller that stars Liam Neeson as a grieving father who's searching for revenge. Does this film start the year on a positive note or is it just another lackluster February release? I'll tell you my thoughts about it.
Let's begin with a short plot synopsis. The story takes place in a small resort town outside of Denver called Kehoe. Nelson Coxman plows snow for a living, so people can maneuver through the city during the worst part of winter. Shortly after he wins the Citizen of the Year award, his son allegedly dies from a drug overdose. Coxman knows his son isn't a drug addict and he tries to find answers. Soon, he realizes organized criminals are the real culprits. The film's protagonist goes on a rampage, mercilessly killing mobsters and anyone who's responsible for his son's death. Ultimately, Coxman crosses a line that can't be undone.
I felt pretty underwhelmed with this movie, but it has a few decent elements. Liam Neeson plays the lead character and he's the best part of the film. Usually, I enjoy Neeson's action films and this performance is very similar to his earlier work. You know what they say. If it's not broke, don't fix it. He's tough, but still relatable and his portrayal as a grieving, angry father is completely believable. Coxman isn't a superhero either. He uses creative, although realistic methods to dispatch his enemies.
This movie is a dark comedy as well. The humor is very inconsistent, but I felt amused sometimes. I laughed a handful of times during my viewing. Cold Pursuit becomes a little bit silly periodically, but it works. I think a somewhat humorous tone makes a little more sense than complete stoicism. The dark humor makes the film less boring and it makes the violence seem a little more appropriate for mainstream audiences.
It's pretty simple and I consider that aspect a good thing. This movie isn't trying to set up a sequel. It's not pretending to be a huge, epic adventure film. The plot isn't pretentious, confusing, or pretending to be a tremendous work of art. Everything about the film is quite small and cozy, which makes sense for a story set in a rural area. Sometimes less is more. I'm tired of modern films trying to set up a dozen sequels or becoming the next Lord of the Rings.
Let's move on to the negative elements. I actually have a lot of criticism for this film. Overall, it's quite mediocre. A lot of elements don't come together very well. Even though I laughed sometimes, much of the humor doesn't work. It tries to be funny and falls flat. The musical score is really forgettable. It's not bad, but I have a tendency to enjoy substantial music. Actually, the score adds some pacing issues to the movie. This film isn't even violent enough for fans of the action genre. It's a pretty soft R rating. There's some blood, but it only has one or two gruesome scenes. I know gore or violence shouldn't be mandatory in cinema, but that's what a viewer should expect from this type of film.
Aside from Liam Neeson, the rest of the cast ranged from unmemorable to awful. Laura Dern played his wife, but she has very little character development and disappears after a few scenes. Tom Bateman is the antagonist and the main crime boss. He's a goofy and annoying caricature who isn't very intimidating. Emmy Rossum and John Doman play a couple of police officers. Rossum isn't terrible, but Doman is a stereotypical dumb movie cop. The film also has multiple silly and disposable henchmen. I really wish the movie had better characters. In general, Cold Pursuit has too many stock characters and stereotypes, including racial ones that might offend people.
It also seems like Liam Neeson's movies look the same. I've seen Taken, The Grey, Run All Night, and The Commuter. All of them feature a regular man who winds up in a terrible situation and breaks into a violent streak. Usually, the villains get their just desserts. I would especially like to see something different with the plot and supporting characters.
Here's another annoying part of this movie. All of the villains are completely incompetent. I couldn't tell you how these mobsters are making so much money without getting caught by the FBI or IRS. They're also really fragile and anybody could kill them. I could kill these mobsters. You could kill them too. I'm pretty sure your grandma could kill them as well.
Is this film worth watching in theaters? Definitely not. However, it might be a decent experience on a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. In fact, I don't understand why it wasn't released directly to one of those streaming services. I doubt it will make a lot of money at the box office. Cold Pursuit has a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and that seems a little bit generous.
All right! That's the end of my film review. What movies are you planning to see this year? Tell me about it in the comment section. 2019 is another crowded year for cinema, so you should expect to see quite a few reviews on my blog. Thanks for visiting and I'll see you again next week.
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