Blu-ray: Cold Pursuit

STUDIO: Summit/Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Hans Petter Moland | CAST: Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Micheal Richardson, William Forsythe, Emmy Rossum
RELEASE DATE: May 14, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $14.96, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $19.99
BONUSES: featurettes, interviews
SPECS: R | 119 min. | Action crime thriller | 2.35:1 widescreen | stereo | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

As sure as the swallows return to Capistrano each year, Liam Neeson (Widows) has had an action picture released in nearly every  winter over the last ten years. It all started with the surprise hit Taken in 2008 and has continued with such efforts as two Taken sequels, Run All Night, Non-Stop, The Commuter, The Grey and Unknown.

His latest post-Christmas gift to action fans is Cold Pursuit, and—good news:  Even though it may look like another one of those thrillers where Neeson does his patented stoic heroic thing, the suspenser delivers more and in different ways than past similar efforts.

Revenge is the name of the game again as Neeson, a diligent snow plow operator whose Colorado town depends on him, discovers that his son was murdered. The incident leads Neeson’s wife (Laura Dern, Downsizing) to depart while her angry hubby seeks revenge. Neeson soon discovers that his son (Neeson’s real life son Micheal Richardson, Vox Lux) is somehow connected to a battle between a Denver drug cartel headed by a twitchy, health-food-obsessed hood (Tom Bateman, Murder on the Orient Express) and a Native-American faction of thugs led by the tribe’s ruthless old school elder (Tom Jackson, Skinwalkers).

Cold Pursuit is actually a remake of the 2016 Norwegian hit In Order of Disappearance directed by Hans Petter Moland (Aberdeen), who called the shots here as well. A major change this time out is that Neeson tackles American creeps who happen to be tangling with Native-American creeps (replacing the original’s Bosnian gangsters). This brings a western flavor to the proceedings, and, with Neeson playing both sides against each other, a Sergio Leone feel a la A Fistful of Dollars. The violence is pretty graphic, too, but the irony factor is high–deaths are registered on-screen with graphics counting the number of fatalities. Think Fargo meets Wind River.

Cold Pursuit shoveled in a less-than-impressive $32 million at the box-office. The timing of the film was awful, just hitting theaters when a controversial interview given by Neeson touched on sensitive racial issues.

The film deserved a better fate.  It’s exciting, darkly humorous, offers some wild wintry skirmishes and presents fine quirky acting turns throughout, from its leads to brief supporting bits by William Forsythe (Dear Mr. Gacy) and Emmy Rossum (TV’s Shameless).

More than likely, however, Liam Neeson’s annual polar action express will be on hiatus next year.

Buy or Rent Cold Pursuit

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.