I could see how a lot of people would have fun with this movie. There is so much action packed blood and violence that any of the sick fucks of the world would enjoy it on that premise alone. The 2019 Netflix original movie, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, is based off of a web-comic with the same name. The film is full of sex, violence, and swear words. Netflix pushes the boundaries of what they can get away with on their streaming service, but along the way appear forgot how to fill the story with sustenance and depth.
I have not read the comic, so I cannot comment on how true to the source this movie is and had no personal connection to the characters going in. I had to watch the movie at pure face value and it felt very shallow. The movie’s opening sequence reminded me of Suicide Squad, but even more cartoony. That is actually how the entire movie portrayed itself. There were a lot of flashy sequences that felt like it jumped right out of a comic book. Sometimes I found myself laughing, specifically at a moment making fun of another movie in the genre; John Wick. Another funny moment is when a hit-man is teaching kids how to use a knife at show and tell Unfortunately because of this comic vibe, I didn’t really connect to the moments that were meant to be more serious. The only real attempt at a meaningful plot is in a moment towards the end of the movie that did genuinely catch me off guard. But I think my problem was that it seemed out of nowhere and didn’t make much sense. Either that or I was so checked out by the time it did crop up, that I was just waiting for the movie to end anyways and the impact didn’t really hit me. It was hard for me to take the gritty depressing scenes serious when the characters are dressed in costumes that looks straight from a cartoon.
Although the acting was great for the roles they were played, I didn’t care about any characters. I didn’t root for anyone to get the prizes or punishment despite the movie’s attempts to make me care. The main character, Duncan Vizla (a.k.a The Black Kieser (a.k.a Mads Mikkelsen’s version of Nick Fury)) is supposed to be some super badass hit-man that everyone is afraid of. The scenes when he is the super killing machine are fun to watch, but at the same time the only thing interesting about the character was that he was Mads Mikkelsen. The rest of the cast was fun to watch as well in their specific roles. I honestly can’t see any of the characters played by anyone else. Vanessa Hudgens plays a great suffering victim who ends up being the only real drive at a genuine character. Matt Lucas is a creepy as fuck villain. We even see Richard fucking Dreyfuss play a broken down alcoholic retired hit-man. My personal favorite was Katheryn Winnick who has more costume changes then an Oscar’s host. But at the end of the day, all of these characters were pretty two dimensional. Maybe that is just what happens when you take something right from the pages of a comic.
Now I might sound a little harsh on this film due to its lack of depth and cartoony nature. I didn’t go in expecting Shawshank Redemption or anything. I went in expecting a ‘shoot’em up’ movie. And that is exactly what I got. There is a lot of blood and gore in this film. There is a extremely graphic torture scene that is meant to last multiple days and I kind of had to skip it. I was in the middle of eating and just not having it. It is fun to watch a movie for the simple reason of seeing a cool dude kill a bunch of bad people and having a fun cast of characters. Not to mention throwing in some tits and jokes along with it really fits well in the genre. I think my main problem is that the movie still didn’t do anything exceptional. The jokes were funny but not hysterical. The fight scenes were cool but not wondrous. And the nudity was… well let’s be honest it was still nudity. There really isn’t a rating system for that. You’re just glad when you see it. It was a fun movie but at the end of the day there are very few moments that I will remember.
For those of you that are just looking for something R rated to watch in the background, give Polar a try. But I think if you want to see a good blood and guts action shoot’em up, there are too many other films in the genre that do it better. This movie does not survive The Snappening and will be lost in the long list of Netflix movies on your list that you never really get around to watching. Part of me likes the metaphor that the older generation still has fight in them. And in a certain way this movie is an homage to the action movies of the past that the older generation loved watching. But unfortunately those movies will be better liked then this newer adaptation. It’s a little Ironic.
Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith