Liam Neeson has made a late stage career change to more action-oriented movies, and they tend to come out early in the year.
But Cold Pursuit is a bit more than it first appeared to be.
Nelson “Nels” Coxman (Neeson) is a snow plow driver for the small mountain town of Kehoe, Colorado. It’s the sort of town that seems to be perennially snowed on and needs a steady hand to keep the roads clear. Shortly after being honored as “citizen of the year,” his son Kyle is jumped and murdered by some drug dealers with a heroin overdose. Nels’ wife Grace (Laura Dern) believes the coroner when he says the Coxmans probably didn’t know their son as well as they thought they did, but it doesn’t sit right with Nels. A tip from a friend of his son’s gives him some names, and it sends him on a path for revenge, isolating himself from the grieving Grace. The only real help he might get is from his brother Brock (William Forsythe).
On the surface, this looks like a pretty straightforward movie. But there are a lot of things going on with Cold Pursuit that make it very different from anything the trailers promised. While Neeson’s characterization is pretty much standard for the genre, it’s the villains of the movie that steal the show. These are some truly eccentric oddballs and weirdos, particularly the man they call the Viking (Tom Bateman), an extremely dietary-conscious man who must see a lot of nutritional value in all the scenery he’s chewing. Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland is actually remaking one of his own movies here, and it would actually be closer to call the thing a dark comedy with a revenge element than anything else. Nels gradually disappears as the movie progresses, leading to a more complicated but rewarding plot. There are a lot of fun running gags, and all it took was one mad guy with a snow plow to create a lot of chaos from such a delicate balancing act between a lot of oddball criminals. 8.5 out of 10 unexpected bedtime stories.