Elway or Manning?

Cold Pursuit is not a normal movie. Not an American one, anyway. From a Norwegian director and a Danish scriptwriter (and remade from the Norwegian original), Cold Pursuit mocks action cinema. It’s purposefully plodding and relentlessly sardonic. The macabre humor lights a fire under this oddity. That this came from a studio is stranger still.

Liam Neeson kills people. That’s what he does and is expected to do. Once in Cold Pursuit, he murders someone while sharing a laugh. In another instance, he shoots a bridal dress salesman point blank with a sawed off rifle. Another falls to a beating, then a choking. When that doesn’t work, he’s choked again. There’s no remorse.

They killed Neeson’s kid – a wrong place, wrong time situation. Cold Pursuit doesn’t hide revenge cinema tropes, neither refreshing in current trends nor new for Neeson, but from this perspective, it’s utterly exotic. Enrapturing even, from an uncomfortable, bleakly comedic method.

Although the origin is Norwegian, traditional Western tropes run through this narrative

Played masterfully by Tom Bateman, the villain is demanding and cruel. He’s vegan, and so is everyone around him. From a pricey home paid for with cocaine trade profits, his henchman stand around with green smoothies in hand. Cold Pursuit mocks the asinine privilege, with Bateman throwing tantrums like a child while telling his young son to read Lord of the Flies for advice.

It’s a movie of class warfare, at least in its own oddball way. The setting is primarily Denver, but to get there requires a drive down an isolated road. Characters have time to think before approaching. Neeson resides in a small cabin. His snow plow isn’t far to earn a modest, rightful living. Also on his side (unknowingly) is a native American tribe. They lucked into a fortune via drug trade, yet there’s a sense of regret among them. They spend time goofing off on a ski resort, enjoying themselves, if aware of the danger.

Although the origin is Norwegian (the story influenced by an increase in local addiction), traditional Western tropes run through this narrative. A small time, innocent gunman looking to take out the local gang; that’s an entrenched concept that Cold Pursuit uses to its advantage. The difference now is the specter of wealth inequality, that told from a predominantly American angle. Of course, with dark laughs as the baby-ish drug pusher never lifts a finger, brawling with the hard-working middle class, blue collar laborer. The dynamic pushes those typecast parts to extremes, with capable actors understanding the subversive, dry wit.


A light grain filter sits on this digital production. That comes and goes. A scene in a bar tends to go too far in challenging the encode, breaking down into chunkiness, but otherwise clarity perseveres. This is especially true of mountain cinematography, lush and pure. Nothing impinges on those scenes.

Cold Pursuit comes from a 2K mastered source, although sharpness and definition certainly can convince the eye otherwise. Scenery resolves with vivid texture. Shots of the small town excel in capturing window displays, brick facades, and snowy sidewalks. Facial detail jumps when in close, purely resolved and consistent.

With the backing of snow, contrast sits high. White blooms with fantastic intensity. By way of style, black levels remain droll, a deep gray. What’s missing in dimension comes back in aesthetic prowess.

Lightly faded color reflects sun-less skies. Pasty flesh tones from this Dolby Vision presentation match the locale. Few primaries pop, held in check by the subtle blue filter applied in post.


Atmosphere is key to Cold Pursuit’s Atmos mix. Wind sprawls around the soundstage, picking up snow and slinging it around. Bars and clubs flare up, creating a sense of space with ambient cues. When in town, light filler surrounds the center channel’s conversation.

Neeson’s snow plow offers some low-end punch. The engine roars when passing. Later, a vehicle chase does the same, with fast pans tracking frantic movement. Accuracy ensures each move is captured.

For the finale, a sizable shoot-out erupts and gunfire resonates in the subwoofer with pleasing weight. Likewise, bullets begin sweeping around. While not special or stand-out, the material provides the needed elements of a great mix.


The main featurette runs nearly a half hour with key interviews and a derivative style, including plot recap. Two separate interviews appear to come from press junkets, with Neeson and director Hans Petter Holland sitting for eight minutes each to answer questions. Five deleted scenes run a little over five minutes.

Cold Pursuit
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User Review
2 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our Patreon-exclusive set of 38 full 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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