COLD PURSUIT – Review by Susan Granger

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In the (fictional) Colorado skiing community of Kehoe, stoic Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) drives a gigantic snowplow, consistently clearing the roads, which makes him the town’s highly respected “Citizen of the Year.”

But when his son Kyle (Micheal Richardson), a baggage handler at the local airport, is killed by drug-smugglers, his death is blamed on a heroin overdose. (FYI: Micheal is Neeson’s real-life son with the late Natasha Richardson.)

Disbelieving Coxman vows revenge, methodically eliminating one suspect after another until he reaches the real culprit, a Denver-based drug lord, Trevor “Viking” Calcote (Tom Bateman), who happens to be caught in a battle with his ex-wife (Julia Jones) for custody of their sensitive young son (Nicholas Holmes).

Continuing the carnage, there’s a turf battle between Viking’s gang of thugs and a rival band of Native-American coke traffickers, headed by White Bull (Tom Jackson), along with the appearance of a hitman known as “The Eskimo.” And after each grisly, graphic demise, there’s the victim’s “in memorium” card, adorned with a crucifix.

In a thankless role, Laura Dern plays Coxman’s weed-smoking wife Grace, while Emmy Rossum and John Doman are a couple of local cops, ill-equipped to handle the rapidly mounting count of homicide cases. William Forsythe is a scene-stealer as Coxman’s black-sheep brother.

Stalwart 66 year-old Liam Neeson has built a vigilante reputation, quoting a line from the film: “I picked a good road and stayed on it.”

Adapted from “In Order of Disappearance,” a 2014 Norwegian thriller, starring Stellan Skarsgard, its original director, Hans Petter Moland worked with Frank Baldwin to revise Kim Fupz Aakeson’s simplistic script, injecting moments of mordant humor, while cinematographer Philip Ogaard highlights the icy landscape.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Cold Pursuit” is a stony, somber 6 – not exactly “Taken” with a snowplow.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.