Netflix has quickly become a good source for original movies. Heck, some of them are even great!
So, let’s take a look at a new one called Polar.
Duncan Vizla (Mads Mikkelsen) is an aging hitman nicknamed “the Black Keiser”. He’s probably the deadliest man in his line of work, and he’s due to retire in a scant two weeks as required by his employers. Upon retirement, he is due to collect a very large pension. As he goes about his day to day life in a small, cold Montana town, he befriends his timid neighbor (Vanessa Hudgens) and takes on a last job or two. However, there is a provision in his contract that says if he dies before he reaches the mandatory retirement age, the company can reclaim his pension in its entirety, and the head of the company, Mr. Blut (Matt Lucas), has a policy of having his assassins killed before they reach retirement age so he can claim their pensions as his own personal income.
Polar is based on a webcomic I’ve never read or even heard of prior to learning this movie existed. And, quite frankly, if you guessed director Jonas Akerlund cut his teeth on music videos, well, you’d be right, and Polar sure does have a music video aesthetic going for it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. This movie is like someone crossed John Wick with a Looney Tunes cartoon. The characters, other than Duncan and Hudgens’ Camille, are goofy weirdos with homicidal edges. Is it a good movie? Maybe not so much “good” as “goofy”. It’s over the top and probably not for everybody. I liked it well enough, not enough to want to see it again, and I could easily see why a lot of other people wouldn’t. The tone is sometimes inconsistent, as between shots of eccentric killers going about their business, we get moments where Duncan flashes back to a kill that apparently still haunts him. The tone changes for no good reason, and Akerlund’s direction doesn’t exactly lend itself well to moments like that.
I suspect it will go down better if you know something about what you’re getting. There’s a lot of extreme editing and good action choreography, and it mostly plays like a long music video. 7.5 out of 10 karaoke killers.