REVIEW: ‘Cold Pursuit’ is a great dark comedy

There’s no doubt most, including myself, saw the trailer for “Cold Pursuit” and ‘thought here we go again.’ Since he appeared in 2009’s “Taken,” Liam Neeson has become somewhat of an action star, mostly in the taking revenge variety. In that recent filmography, the flicks have been hit or miss.

Thankfully, I can report “Cold Pursuit” is one of the good ones.

The movie takes place in a small Colorado town, known mostly for its heavy snowfall and ski resorts. The main character is Nels Coxman (Neeson), a snowplow driver who was just named citizen of the year. He’s thrown into the world of crime, though, when his son is caught in the crossfire of a drug dealing mishap at an airport.

With anger in his heart and revenge on his mind, Nels decides to go after the criminal enterprise that had his son killed. In doing so, it sets off a chain reaction that starts a turf war in the rural Colorado region.

“Cold Pursuit” is less an action movie and more like a dark comedy with some thriller elements thrown in, and wow, is it entertaining as hell. The main story remains Nels’ quest for revenge, and there’s no doubt some of the ways he takes out the henchmen are satisfying to watch.

However, the absolute best parts of “Pursuit” are the bizarre, odd, and even comical character moments dotted along the film. The main villain of the whole picture, for example, is a complete health nut who is hyper-focused on raising his son with organic products.

These unique character beats are most noticeable during conversations between a pair, such as two henchmen chatting about life before a hit or the town’s patrol cops discussing local crime. There’s a nonchalant, same day, every day attitude these characters carry that makes these moments work.

As usual, Neeson is reliable in this type of role, considering it’s another character out for blood. Yet Neeson plays it with some subtle comedic beats, since the character is still just a snowplow driver with no real experience in the underground world of crime.

While “Cold Pursuit” is a strong movie with some rather funny moments, the writing isn’t as good as some others in the genre. When compared to material from, say, the Coen Brothers or Quentin Tarantino, the movie falls a bit short.

As a whole, though, it’s worth checking out. There’s entertainment value here, and it can keep an audience engaged the whole way through. 3.8 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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