In a surprising twist of events this week, Netflix’s global top ten list has a new contender that has taken the platform by storm. It has shot straight to the fourth spot. But what is not-so-surprising about it is that it is yet another action thriller, albeit a darkly comedic one, starring yet another popular action star.
Cold Pursuit has skyrocketed to the fourth spot, drawing in 13.2 million hours of viewing and 6.7m views within a week. It’s also managed to secure its place in the top ten lists of films in 21 countries across the Americas—from Argentina to Venezuela.
Directed by Hans Petter Moland and starring Liam Neeson as the lead character, Nels Coxman, Cold Pursuit brings together a cast of talented actors, including Laura Dern, Tom Bateman, and Emmy Rossum. The screenplay for this action-packed thriller was penned by Frank Baldwin, who adapted the story from the Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance.
The premise of Cold Pursuit revolves around Nels Coxman, a mild-mannered snowplough driver who lives in a picturesque Colorado town. His life takes an unexpected turn when his son is brutally murdered, leading him down a path of vengeance against a drug cartel responsible for the crime. What follows is a gripping and darkly comedic tale of one man’s quest for justice, where he takes on an entire criminal empire.
Upon its initial release, Cold Pursuit received mixed reviews from critics. While some praised the film’s unique blend of dark humour, violence, and Neeson’s brooding performance, others found the film’s tonal shifts and violence off-putting. However, it is essential to note that Neeson’s brand of action cinema has always been a magnet for audiences who enjoy intense, high-stakes thrillers. His portrayal of a vigilante seeking retribution has been a recurring theme in his recent films, and it’s what has consistently drawn fans to his work.
It was during the promotions of Cold Pursuit that Neeson had revealed a racist anecdote from his past that had shocked Hollywood fans. This is the same tale that ended up seeing the strange but bizarrely funny Liam Neeson cameo in the seminal Donald Glover show, Atlanta.
What makes the success of Cold Pursuit on Netflix all the more intriguing is the universal appeal of Neeson’s action films. Despite the initial critical reception, Neeson’s films have a track record of drawing large viewership on streaming platforms. His portrayal of characters who fight against the odds and seek justice or revenge resonates with a broad audience, making these movies perfect for a night of cinematic escapism.
And Neeson knows what you would think when you hear the story of Cold Pursuit, “Oh fuck, here we go again,” as he put it to Entertainment Weekly. “I feel very privileged, and a little bit guilty. I’m having fight scenes with guys half my age, and I just can’t stop laughing. It’s just so silly on one level and great fun on another,” he confided with a chuckle.
Neeson then ended with the keenest observation that is applicable to just about any artistic career out there, “If I can intersperse them [silly action films] every now and then with A Ballad of Buster Scruggs or Martin Scorsese’s Silence, you couldn’t ask for a better career than that.”
You can watch the trailer of Cold Pursuit here: