Runtime 118 minutes R
After seeing Liam Neeson’s The Commuter (2018), which was the latest in his many follow-ups to his 2008 megahit Taken, I suggested that he had clearly run out of material in this genre and he proceed down a new path.
Unfortunately, he did not take my advice and he has continued with this imbecilic vehicle which is filled with cold-blooded killings, one after the other.
Directed by Hans Petter Moland with a script by Frank Baldwin based on a movie, In Order of Disappearance (2014, also directed by Moland and starring Stellan Starsgård), written by Kim Fupz Aakeson, Neeson plays Nels Coxman, a man whose son is murdered. He sets out to avenge the murder which eventually leads him to Viking (Tom Bateman), a vicious drug lord.
… this imbecilic vehicle is filled with cold-blooded killings, one after the other.
Bateman plays Viking as an over the top madman. Viking has a son (Micheál Richardson) who is phlegmatic, to say the least, but the way Viking treats him is consistent with his character.
Shot in the Fortress mountains in Alberta, Canada, at 9,000 feet, Nels is a snowplow driver in the fictional Colorado ski resort of Kehoe (the other film was based in Norway) who has just been named Citizen of the Year for his services in keeping the roads open to the remote location in which he lives. But when he sets out to take his revenge on Viking and his crew he comes up with a sniper rifle and shows skills that would certainly be unusual for a man of his occupation. But the movie tells us that Nels’ father was a crime boss and his brother (Bill Forsythe) worked with Papa in his life of crime, so although Nels has lived a straight and narrow life, it seems he knows through osmosis from his family how to kill people.
This grisly business is presented as sort of a comedy. Nels starts low, killing people on each rung of the ladder that leads to Viking. Each time Nels kills somebody, violently, their name with the cross appears on the screen in black and white accompanied by light-hearted music showing the list of victims in steadily increasing numbers.
Unlike Taken, which had lots of tension, that tension has greatly decreased with each subsequent iteration. Finally (we can only hope) this one has no tension whatsoever. There is no set up, no tracking, Nels just somehow finds these people and murders them in cold blood.
This is rubbish that is no different from the John Wick drivel that glorifies senseless violence. They minimize the tragic finality of death and desensitize viewers to violent murder. I repeat my advice to Liam from last year. Give these things up. They just keep getting worse.
Tony Medley is an MPAA-accredited film critic. See more reviews at TonyMedley.com.