Liam Neeson is at it again playing the action hero, this time as snowplow driver-turned-vigilante Nelson “Nels” Coxman in Cold Pursuit. Directed by Hans Petter Molland in his Hollywood debut, it’s a remake of the 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance (also directed by Molland). I found Cold Pursuit to be a solid action film, but not without its issues.
A man of few words, Nels’ life is simple and solitary. For years, he has worked as a snowplow driver in the ski resort town of Kehoe, Colorado and the job earned him the “Citizen of the Year” award. Nels and his wife, Grace (Laura Dern), are soon rocked by the news of their son Kyle’s (Micheál Richardson, Neeson’s son in real life) unexpected passing from a heroin overdose.
Wracked with grief, Nels decides to end his life but stops upon learning Kyle was actually murdered on the orders of a ruthless drug lord named Trevor “Viking” Calcote (Tom Bateman). Kyle and fellow airport baggage handler Dante (Wesley MacInnes) ripped off a kilo of cocaine from the cartel, which caused Viking to order their deaths. Nels resolves to wipe out the entire cartel and get justice for his son’s murder. One by one, Nels murders Viking’s drug dealers and disposes of their bodies in a manner he gleaned from a crime novel.
Viking wrongly assumes the killings are at the hands of a Native American drug cartel. He retaliates by killing the son of the cartel’s leader, White Bull (Tom Jackson), thus igniting a gang war. Viking soon learns that Coxman was the responsible party, but at too late an hour and it becomes a battle to the death for all involved.
Cold Pursuit is extremely well done and is, in my opinion, right up there with other vigilante films like Death Wish and Defiance. There were some parts I didn’t care for, like the beginning. It felt very rushed and I would have appreciated more character development with regard to Grace and Kyle.
Within a few scenes, Kyle is dead and Grace leaves her husband — seemingly blaming him for what happened. Some additional backstory to explain the family dynamic could’ve really enhanced the film and added much more depth and meaning to Kyle’s murder.
Otherwise, I really enjoyed it. Laced with dark humor and plenty of good action scenes throughout, Cold Pursuit is a unique, compelling addition to the vigilante genre.
I give Cold Pursuit four out of five stars.