There are few certainties in life absent death, taxes and the realization that one does not fuck with Liam Neeson's family. Norwegian film director Hans Petter Moland makes his American debut with Cold Pursuit, a darkly comedic thriller and remake of his 2014 film In Order of Disappearance. Neeson plays Nels Coxman, a snowplow operator in fictional Kehoe, Colorado, who is named "Citizen of the Year" on the same night his son Kyle (Micheal Richardson) dies from a forced heroin overdose from members of a Denver drug cartel. Despondent, Nels considers taking his own life before deciding to avenge his son's murder. He seeks advice from his brother and former mob enforcer Brock (William Forsythe), who sends him on a bloody path toward cartel drug lord Trevor "Viking" Calcote (Tom Bateman).
Cold Pursuit plays cheeky homage to the Norwegian original with title cards interspersed throughout the film that note each soul Nels dispatches from the world. Calcote initially fears rival White Bull Legrew (Tom Jackson) is coming for his empire, and hires hitman "The Eskimo" (Arnold Pinnock) to kill him. The hired gun soon realizes who is actually behind the deaths of Calcote's men, and attempts to broker a more lucrative deal for revealing the information. All the while, Nels takes out hosts of lower-level cartel men amid the snowy Colorado landscape. Supporting characters include Nels's grieving wife Grace (Laura Dern) and local police officers Kim Dash (Emmy Rossum) and John Gipsky (John Doman), who begin a Coen Brothers-level investigation into the local murders.
Neeson is stoic here, giving a relatively quiet but effective performance. This film is less Taken than it is a more serious Fargo, and Nels finds no joy in his work. Darkly humorous and violent, Cold Pursuit offers quirky villains in White Bull and Calcote, who insists that his son eat healthy and avoid screen time as he shoots people in the head in the other room. Nicely shot with frigid cinematography from Philip Øgaard, Cold Pursuit is briskly paced and maintained my interest for 118 minutes. Fans of Coen Brothers noir, Neeson and darkly humorous thrillers should enjoy Cold Pursuit.
THE 4K ULTRA HD:
The 2.39:1/2160p/HEVC/H.265 transfer offers Dolby Vision and HDR10. The digitally sourced image was shot on the Arri Alexa in 2.8K and upscaled for this 4K release. The is a dark film, and the 4K offers improved shadow detail and clarity in nighttime scenes. The HDR color grading is impressive, too, and it offers gorgeously saturated blues and oranges at the climax and some fantastic highlights throughout. Detail and texture are generally strong, and only minor noise and murkiness detract from this strong image.
The disc includes a Dolby Atmos mix that I sampled in 7.1 Dolby TrueHD. Effects bursts like gunfire and hand-to-hand combat escape into the surrounds and bring the LFE to life, while dialogue is crisp and nicely defined from both the center and surround channels. The score is balanced appropriately, and distortion and overcrowding are never an issue. A Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is included, as are English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
This "combo pack" includes the 4K disc, a Blu-ray and an HD digital copy. The discs arrive in a black 4K case that is wrapped in a foil slipcover. Extras on both discs include Welcome to Kehoe (26:49/HD), a decent making-of; an Interview with Liam Neeson (8:46/HD); an Interview with Hans Petter Moland (8:20/HD); Deleted Scenes; and the Theatrical Trailer (1:09/HD).
This remake of a Norwegian thriller offers an enjoyable, understated performance by Liam Neeson, who plays a Colorado man forced to avenge the murder of his son. Lionsgate's 4K Ultra HD disc looks and sounds great. Recommended.