MOVIE REVIEW: Good film tainted by Liam Neeson’s brain fade
COLD PURSUIT (MA15+)
Rating: Three stars (3 out of 5)
Director: Hans Petter Moland (Zero Kelvin)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Tom Bateman, Micheal Richardson, Emmy Rossum.
Worth the chase if you can ignore the heat
The release of Cold Pursuit is officially a hot mess thanks to the weapons-grade brain-fade of its leading man Liam Neeson during a recent interview.
In case you missed it, Neeson let fly with a bizarre confession he once spent a week wanting to kill a black man - any black man - to square the ledger on behalf of a friend who suffered a serious (though unverified) assault from a person of colour.
Therefore the onus is on viewers of Cold Pursuit to not so much separate the art from the artist, as it is to differentiate between a smart, sussed pulp thriller and its dumb, deluded star.
If you can do so, well, one of Neeson's better reckless revenge-spree offerings - and there has been a stack of them in the past decade - is there for the taking.
This one is a remake of the 2014 Norwegian hit In Order of Disappearance, and the movie underscores its openly ridiculous body count with a surprisingly infectious sense of humour that never lets up.
In an unusual touch that demonstrates Cold Pursuit's unconventional comic smarts, director Hans Petter Moland goes out of his way to honour the memory of each and every scumbag who carks it on screen.
Doesn't matter whether you're tattooed, toothless or just plain terrifying, if you die in Cold Pursuit, the movie will commemorate your passing by fading to black and putting your name up there on the screen.
Dastardly dudes with handles like Speedo, Limbo, Santa and The Viking might get what's rightly coming to them, but they also get a moment's silence. Nice.
As for the story of Cold Pursuit, it pitches up Neeson as Nels Coxman, an honest-toiling snowplow driver looking to mow down every last member of the drug syndicate that iced his only child.
Nels has just received the award for Citizen of the Year in the small ski resort town in which he has lived most of his life.
When word comes through that his son Kyle (played by Neeson's real-life son, Micheal Richardson) has been found dead of a heroin overdose, Nels immediately knows something is up. And many will be going down until he gets some answers.
Somewhat fortuitously, Neeson does go AWOL for a few extended periods in Cold Pursuit, allowing some hammy support players to go over the top with the jokier elements of the movie.