Grieving Dad Goes Vigilante in Remake of Gruesome, Norwegian Crime Thriller
Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) is Kehoe, Colorado’s most reliable snowplow driver. He was recently named the popular ski resort area’s “Citizen of the Year” for keeping its treacherous mountain roads clear during the blizzards which routinely threaten to disrupt the town’s tourist season.
Not used to making public appearances before an audience, the shy civil servant needs some help from his wife (Laura Dern) dressing and preparing an acceptance speech. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes the night of the awards dinner when their son (Micheál Richardson) dies of a drug overdose in nearby Denver.
After identifying the body at the morgue, Grace (“We didn’t know our own son.”) is inclined to accept the police explanation that Kyle had been a heroin addict. But hubby Nels (“Kyle wasn’t a druggie!”) is very skeptical, since the kid had no history of drug use and had been gainfully employed as a baggage handler at Kehoe’s airport at the time of his demise.
So, the grieving dad decides to do a little digging on his own and soon discovers that Dante (Wesley MacInnes), a co-worker of Kyle’s, had stolen a kilo of cocaine from a drug cartel. As it turns out, Kyle was ostensibly murdered in a case of mistaken identity on orders from a kingpin known as Viking (Tom Bateman).
That’s little consolation to Nels who suddenly becomes blinded by rage. The mild-mannered pillar of the community morphs into a sadistic spree killer determined to track down the powerful mobster who ordered the hit on his boy. However, Viking has an army of minions running interference, which means Nels must negotiate a perilous gauntlet en route to his well-protected target.
Thus, unfolds Cold Pursuit, a riveting vigilante thriller directed by Hans Petter Moland. The movie is a faithful, English-language adaptation of In Order of Disappearance, a gratuitous gorefest which Moland made in his native Norway in 2014. This equally-gruesome remake similarly veers back and forth between slaughter and slapstick, never fully committing to comedy or drama.
Whether we’re supposed to laugh at or recoil from the escalating body count, Cold Pursuit, at heart, is a wanton splatterflick certain to satiate the bloodlust of fans of the genre.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity, drug use, sexual references and graphic violence
Running time: 118 minutes
Production Company: Paradox Films / StudioCanal
Distributor: Lionsgate / Summit Entertainment
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot
WWII Vet Plays Hero Again in Campy Action Adventure
Every now and then, a film turns history on its head. For example, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter made over $100 million dollars at the box office by suggesting that the 16th President of the United States was also a legendary stalker of the undead. And Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, which had Hitler dying in a movie theater fire rather than by committing suicide, made three times as much money.
Well, in The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot we have a film that contradicts conventional wisdom not once, but twice. The picture stars Sam Elliott as Calvin Barr, the World War II vet who supposedly successfully assassinated the Fuhrer on a top-secret mission.
This picture unfolds decades later when an aging Calvin is coaxed out of retirement by an FBI agent (Ron Livingston) to track down the legendary Bigfoot (Mark Steger) that is rumored to be living deep in the Canadian forest. It seems that the mythical beast is responsible for a deadly plague that is threatening to decimate the population.
Turning down an array of 007-level, state of the arts gadgets, Calvin stoically sets out with just a rifle, a scope, and a Bowie knife. He doesn’t even don goggles, gas mask, and a protective suit to prevent his prey from infecting him. Sam Elliott plays it straight here, but you can’t help but wonder whether the veteran thespian’s embarrassed by the fact that this campy B-flick has been released right when he’s been nominated for an Oscar for the first time in his career.
An amusing mix of fantasy and revisionist history bordering on cheesy that’s strictly for the very gullible!
Good (2 stars)
Running time: 98 minutes
Production Companies: Epic Pictures Releasing / Title Media
Distributor: RLJE FILMS
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening February 15, 2019
Alita: Battle Angel (PG-13 for action, violence, and brief profanity) Rosa Salazar tackles the title role in this post-apocalyptic sci-fi as a cyborg with amnesia recruited by a compassionate scientist (Christoph Waltz) to break the world’s cycle of death and destruction. Cast includes Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connelly, Jackie Earle Haley, and Michelle Rodriguez.
Happy Death Day 2U (PG-13 for violence, profanity, sexuality, and mature themes) Slasher sequel finds heroine Tree Gelbman (Jessica Roth) re-entering the time loop and repeatedly reliving the same day during which she is hunted and killed by a masked assassin. With Ruby Modine, Israel Broussard, and Suraj Sharma.
Isn’t It Romantic (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, and a drug reference) Satirical fantasy, set in NYC, about an Australian architect (Rebel Wilson) who wakes up trapped in a romantic comedy after being knocked unconscious by a mugger on a subway platform. Supporting cast includes Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine, and Priyanka Chopra.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Birds of Passage (Unrated) Colombian crime thriller, set in the Seventies, about an indigenous family that comes to regret dealing drugs. Co-starring Jose Acosta, Carmina Martinez, and Natalia Reyes. (In English, Spanish, and Wayuu with subtitles)
Donnybrook (R for profanity, drug use, graphic nudity, disturbing violence, and sexuality) Adaptation of Frank Bill’s best seller of the same name about an ex-Marine (Jamie Bell) and a meth dealer (Frank Grillo) who enter an illicit, bare-knuckle cage match with a $100,000 winner take all purse. Featuring Margaret Qualley, James Badge Gale, and Chris Browning.
Fighting with My Family (PG-13 for sexuality, violence, crude humor, drug use, and pervasive profanity) Fact-based comedy about a couple of retired pro wrestlers (Nick Frost and Lena Headey) whose children (Florence Pugh and Jack Lowden) dream of following in their parents’ footsteps. With Dwayne Johnson, Vince Vaughn, and Stephen Merchant.
The Lears (Unrated) Dysfunctional family dramedy about an aging architect (Bruce Dern) who invites his four children to a weekend retreat to announce that he’s marrying his personal assistant (Victoria Smurfit) that Sunday. Featuring Anthony Michael Hall, Sean Astin, Aly Michalka, Nic Bishop, and James Hoare.
Ruben Brandt, Collector (R for violence and nude images) Animated suspense thriller about a psychotherapist (Ivan Kamaras) who, with help from four of his patients, steals priceless works of art from the Louvre, MOMA, the Hermitage, and other museums in order to alleviate his suffering from violent nightmares. Cast includes Gabriella Hamori, Katalin Dombi, and Csaba Marton. (In English and Hungarian with subtitles)
Sorry Angel (Unrated) Romance drama, set in Paris in 1993, about a renowned writer (Pierre Deladonchamps) who falls in love with a gay film student (Vincent Lacoste) from Brittany about half his age. With Denis Podalydes, Adele Wismes, and Thomas Gonzalez. (In French with subtitles)
This One’s for the Ladies (R for nudity, graphic images, sexual simulations, and pervasive profanity) Raunchy documentary revolving around a New Jersey karate dojo which morphs into a male strip club every Thursday night. Featuring performances by Tyga, Raw Dawg, and Poundcake.