This 2019 Liam Neeson action movie is popular on Netflix. Here’s why

One thing that you can always count on at Netflix is that some unexpected film will conquer the algorithm and emerge from obscurity as one of the top titles on the site. This week, the 2019 revenge thriller, Cold Pursuit, landed among the most popular movies on Netflix. Liam Neeson starred in the film, and he’s easily the most recognizable member of the cast, although Shameless star Emmy Rossum does have a supporting role as well.

Cold Pursuit was only a modest hit at the box office, and it couldn’t recapture that old Taken magic that Neeson’s been chasing since 2010. So why is this action movie suddenly so popular on Netflix? There are three reasons why it’s now a minor hit, and we’ll share them with you now.

Liam Neeson’s out for revenge … again

Liam Neeson in Cold Pursuit.

By now, everyone knows what to expect from a Liam Neeson action flick. Ever since headlining Taken, Neeson has appeared in seemingly countless action movies instead of the prestige fare that he used to do. And so, Neeson’s gonna Neeson until he just can’t do it anymore.

Cold Pursuit starts off like any other Neeson film, with his character, an unassuming snowplow driver named Nels Coxman, learning that his son has been murdered by the local drug cartel. An ordinary man would simply grieve. But an ordinary man portrayed by Liam Neeson goes out for revenge. It’s something we’ve seen Neeson play many times before. The key difference is that Neeson plays his role straight in a film that’s filled with comedic moments. And that actually makes those scenes even funnier without turning Neeson into the butt of the joke.

It’s darkly funny and offbeat

Tom Bateman and Arnold Pinnock in Cold Pursuit.

Cold Pursuit is based on a Norwegian film called In Order of Disappearance, and both movies were directed by Hans Petter Moland. That’s probably why the American remake retains a lot of humor and wit. This really is an uncommonly funny action movie, and it’s almost Quentin Tarantino-esque with the eccentricities of its leading characters.

Tom Bateman gets a lot of the comedy moments despite playing the film’s main villain, Trevor “Viking” Calcote. While Viking is behind the murder of Coxman’s son, he’s also got his own personal code and he seems genuinely offended when a hitman hired by Coxman sells out his client because it reveals that he doesn’t have any professional standards. Those are the kind of darkly comedic moments that make this film stand out.

The grand finale

Liam Neeson and Tom Jackson in Cold Pursuit.

Because Viking initially assumed that Coxman’s actions against him were ordered by a rival criminal outfit, he strikes back at the wrong man, White Bull Legrew (Tom Jackson), and inadvertently sets off a gang war. Viking even realizes how badly he miscalculated, but he can’t make peace with White Bull, especially since he made it personal by killing someone that he loved.

This leads to a grand showdown late in the movie when both Viking and White Bull converge on Coxman’s location for a final showdown. By that point, Coxman has also crossed White Bull, so his survival is far from assured. The film’s climatic scene was so audacious that the studio couldn’t resist putting it on one of the movie posters. You’ve got to see it to believe it.

Watch Cold Pursuit on Netflix.

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