If you put Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills and Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino in a box and shake them hard, the result would be Cold Pursuit that has all the action of the Taken franchise and black comedy from Tarantino’s cupboard. Set in Sub Zero temperature with snow all around, this Hans Petter Moland remake of his own Norwegian original In Order of Disappearance makes you realize that if you want to mess with someone, make sure that person isn’t related to Liam Neeson – because you don’t want to make him angry!
The film revolves around the events of ‘Citizen of the Year’ Nelson Coxman, a snowplough driver in Kehoe, a Colorado ski resort, whose only son is murdered on the order of a drug lord Trevor “Viking” Calcote (Tom Bateman). Coxman’s wife (Laura Dern) leaves him, his brother (William Forsythe) tells him about gangs and the tracker in Liam Neeson does the rest. How he does it is what makes the film all the more interesting as Liam Neeson sort of goes into the Taken mode and ‘takes’ down the enemy one by one.
It may remind you of Taken, The Grey, Non-Stop, The Commuter and many other films where Neeson has played one-man-can-make-a-difference characters but unlike the mentioned flicks, Cold Pursuit is a black comedy where death makes you smile. The death of each and every character is marked out as well, making you laugh as well on few occasions, such is the way death has been executed onscreen. It’s because of these funny elements that you look forward to the next kill and set the slow pace aside, something you would expect from Tarantino or Coen Brothers. In fact, it might remind the audience of A Fistful of Dollars and/or Last Man Standing where Clint Eastwood (in the ‘60s) and Bruce Willis (in the ‘90s) took revenge from multiple gangs for making fun of his mule (in Eastwood’s film) and wrecking his car (on Willis’ part).
The film belongs entirely to Liam Neeson who gets his act right as a grieving father who thinks of taking his own life before his son’s friend convinces him otherwise. The way he walks, the way he stalks and the way he talks is what makes this film something you shouldn’t miss. Sadly, an accomplished actress like Laura Dern was wasted in the film as she had nothing to do except crying in her small appearance which was strange considering the director’s attention to character details of all the bad guys in the movie. Be it the family of the Native American drug lord or Viking’s men, everyone had some unique characteristics that set them apart. Their biggest mistake was the same – waking up the ‘killer’ inside a grieving father!