Fans of Liam Neeson in his “Taken” collection or 2014’s “A Walk Among the Tombstones” will enjoy this latest revenge-filled drama by the no-nonsense actor. Using razor-thin character development, “Cold Pursuit” frees up valuable screen time to focus solely on Neeson’s vigilante warpath. An ever-growing death toll uniquely presented to the viewer with charm and grace, highlighting the dark humor found throughout the film.
With a violent crime spree and timely comedic touches, “Cold Pursuit” feels a bit like a hat-tip towards Quentin Tarantino’s classic “Pulp Fiction.” Set high among the snowy Rocky Mountains outside of Denver, Neeson plays Nels Coxman, a snowplow driver grieving the loss of his son at the hands of a prominent drug cartel.
Picturesque Colorado presents the battleground for Neeson’s revenge. Caught in the Denver-based drug cartel’s crossfire is Native American rival crime boss White Bull (Tom Jackson), who must also stand tall against his drug dealing competitor from the city.
Using several switchbacks on the gruesome plotline, “Cold Pursuit” drops a snowdrift amount of violence in the relatively short two hours of cinema action. The film works because of a frenzied pace driven by Neeson, minus the clutter of any background character filler on himself or his family.
Going from tip to tip up the cartel’s rank and file towards the “Viking” leader himself (Tom Bateman), Neeson’s handyman Coxman forges ahead like his own state-of-art snowplow: Never stopping or getting sidetracked, nor backing up long enough to slow the movie’s killer forward momentum.
Action enthusiasts will enjoy “Cold Pursuit” and its monolithic approach to vigilantism. While the film doesn’t boast serious relationships or deeper roots of valor like Denzel Washington’s “The Equalizer” bookends or Bruce Willis’ remake of “Death Wish” last year, “Cold Pursuit” works for the audience.
Dark comedy, sporadic overacting and small cameos by none other than two-time Academy Award nominee Laura Dern and Showtime’s “Shameless” star Emmy Rossum (as a small-town cop) provide window dressing to bodies dropped from snowy gorges into freezing waters. What more can you ask for from a Liam Neeson film?
“Cold Pursuit” is rated R with a running time of one hour and 58 minutes.