A good action movie is like a classic meat-and-potatoes meal; standard fare that although might be seasoned differently is both filling and unsurprising. Occasionally a genre-breaking film will surprise everyone and pop open a bottle of Malbec to serve with a little filet mignon. Usually? The plot, situation, even the action itself, is as recycled as a hot dog washed down with a Coors Light. Forgettable. Ordinary. Monotonous. Then there is Polar.
The film is Irish-carbomb crazy; chopped meat that’s charbroiled yet still pink-on-the-inside, along with plenty of extra cheese.
The film’s plot is insanely generic. Older hitman seeks retirement but his boss won’t let him go. In fact, said boss, a maniacal Matt Lucas who was given free reign of Elton John’s wardrobe circa 1987, would much rather see Duncan (Mads Mikklesen) dead than pay him his owed bank. A squad of diverse goons head out in hopes of retiring Duncan in cleverly ridiculous ways only to discover – shock – that old Duncan is more wily than initially estimated. Silliness ensues.
The slick camera-work and kinetic editing is an over-the-top, ADD-infused assault. Think Tony Scott helming John Wick. Adapted from a Dark Horse graphic novel and directed by Jonas Åkerlund, Polar looks like a full-length Rammstein music video, albeit scored by Deadmau5, and comes complete with Instagram-worthy title cards.
The film is soaked with annoying characters, absurd situations (Richard Dreyfuss on karaoke, anyone?), and a devilish weapon-fetish. Duncan, however, hi-jacks the film with his heart of plated gold, a desire for a pet, and the smooth handling of an axe.
Every plot point was slashed to bits with a dull sword. Betrayals were telegraphed as subtlety as a missile strike. And the ending was as secure as an A-Team mission. Through all that, Polar is deep-fried fun that makes an otherwise-forgettable Tuesday night slightly more memorable.
If only there were an explanation of the film’s title…