Taken: Snow Day is awesome. This delightful little black action comedy hits on so many levels it’s astounding. This is damn fine original filmmaking.
Well, not so original. Based upon a Norwegian film, but with the same director, Cold Pursuit follows Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson). He clears the snowy mountain roads above the ski town Kehoe, Colorado. He emotes little and he says less. Until his son is murdered by drug dealers. Now he’s on a quest for revenge. Who would suspect the unassuming plow driver?
Think Coen Brothers and you’ll immediately understand the vibe of this film. The movie knows it’s silly and it leans in, in the best possible ways. Like Coxman taking a break from choking a guy to take a couple of his own breaths before continuing to choke him to death. Great stuff. As he works his way up the ladder of a Denver crime syndicate, the kill count rises higher. Punctuated every time someone dies with a black screen and the name of the recently deceased (or nickname). The silliest part of the movie however, is how they make Denver look like a snowy wasteland in the winter.
Of particular note is the villain ‘Viking’ played by Tom Bateman. His delicious raspy growl of a voice can be equal parts terrifying and hilarious. When he’s threatening someone versus when he’s admonishing his crew for trying to give his son sugary treats. Extremely enjoyable.
Unfortunately, Laura Dern as Coxman’s wife is completely wasted. Might as well have hired an actress who needed the work. At least she’s not there just to motivate the main character. Also, there’s a Native American storyline that I’m pretty sure they just included so they could have a character exclaim: “Just have the Indian do it!” Pointing at a man of Indian origin. At the same time, this film probably employed more Native American actors than an entire year of Hollywood films so who is the real villain?
Quick witter, sharp dialogue, blackly hilarious, and with a cut to black scene that takes it all the way home, Cold Pursuit is wonderful. Go see it.
3.5 out of 4 stars.