Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) is a man with a particular set of skills and when his son is murdered by drug dealers, he’s going to have to develop some new skills to avenge him. Nels is a snowplough driver, a man of few words and winner of citizen of the year in his small Colorado mountain town. He goes on a murderous rampage to get to loathsome kingpin Viking (Tom Bateman), triggering no interest from any of the cops except a plucky young detective (Emmy Rossum).
Cold Pursuit, directed by Norwegian Hans Petter Moland as an American remake of his own In Order of Disappearance, is a pitch black action comedy crime drama. The movie loses a little from the relocation to America, as there’s a tone to these Norwegian black comedies (like Jackpot and Headhunters) that is dependent on their particularly stoic culture. Moland definitely has a foreign eye for the setting, which adds a certain kind of surreal humour you wouldn’t get from an American director. This does sometimes feel a little culturally out of place, but quite a lot of the jokes are so gut-bustingly hilarious you can happily write off the ones that don’t land. The sheer dryness of the Norwegian wit is missing, which results in an odd tone that’s not always successful.
In a way, casting Liam Neeson as the protagonist elevates the proceedings to a sort of parodic meta-commentary on Liam Neeson movies, spelling out what a nightmare it would be to live with someone as taciturn and murderously efficient as his stock character, but in other ways it undercuts the impact of the worm-turning narrative because this is what you expect of Neeson rather than some hapless everyman.Certainly, you get all the violence you expect – and then some!
Cold Pursuit is a bit of a mixed bag and I’d recommend seeing the original for preference, but it’s still very entertaining and funny and it’s worth a look.