Netflix Now: Cold and Dead: Polar (2019) Reviewed

Netflix is off to a rough start this year with two of their worst releases to date. First was the off kilter cat and mouse flick with Noomi Rapace, Close. Now comes their Dark Horse comic book adaptation of Polar, a repetitive piece of genre ilk that simply doesn't live up to the standards set by the streaming service.

Instead of finding something fresh or new to say, this long form introduction of trained killer Duncan Vizla is a nonsensical gun-play juggernaut that's both a simple reminder of how repetitious these movies have become and how quickly we've come to the point of over saturation. Polar is a reminder of how soulless comic book movies were before they become a serious contender for our attention at the box office. 

What do you get when you cross the age old trope of the retiring hitman with a highly colorful, blood spattering action film that has nothing original to say? Polar, a non-engaging symptom of what happens when comic book movies have become such a mainstream commodity that even Netflix is trying to transcend the highly successful medium with a lower budget release that is literally a poor man's John Wick mixed with the highly colorful concepts of Kick Ass and the consistently tired archetype of the middle aged killer that's ready to get out of the business. Sadly enough, Mads Mikkelsen is totally up to the challenge of carrying such a poorly conceived movie, but the formulaic story telling absolutely fails his talents. 

Propagating the same things that we've seen so many times is not the only hard fault I found with Polar. Honestly, it feels like a rush job that was attempted to satiate Jonas Akerlund's desire to get away from making music videos. While sometimes, the visionaries of those short films can entirely make that jump, it seems that Akerlund doesn't quite have the focus to move from video shorts to the full length realm. Having directed spots for huge artists like Madonna, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Coldplay and many more doesn't really seem to serve him as a movie director. Unlike Tarsem Singh, who successfully made that transition, Akerlund's work here is stunted by being way too short sighted.  In fact, it almost seems like Polar could have worked as a stylized web series instead of a two hour movie. 

If you're a huge fan of Mads, the work he did on Hannibal, or the good karma he's built up for years with amazing dramatic work, Polar is a hard left turn into bumpy territory. While he's the best thing about the movie, there is really nothing other to latch onto here. You, the general audience, have seen this all time and time again. This is a specific reminder of how far and fast we've come from movies like Jonah Hex. If you must see it, go in understanding it's a poor man's John Wick with a more emotive actor than Keanu Reeves. 

-Chris George