Sunday, April 14, 2019

Movie Review: "Polar" (2019)

Director: Jonas Åkerlund
Year: 2019
Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

As a hitman known as Black Kaiser approaches retirement, his soon-to-be-former-employer sends a murder squad to take him out to avoid paying him the $8+ million pension he is owed for his years of service.

Polar 2019 Netflix movie Mads Mikkelsen Vanessa Hudgens
"You can't always get what you want, old man." (Image Source)
It's good to know movies that would surely obtain an NC-17 rating and would die a terrible death in theaters because of it have found a home on Netflix where they can reach a much wider audience. Director Jonas Åkerlund's "Polar" (2019) is one such movie (at least we think it would get an NC-17 rating). Åkerlund is best known for directing music videos for artists like Ozzy Osbourne, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé, but he is also known for films like "Spun" and "Lords of Chaos." The screenplay is written by Jayson Rothwell and is based on the Dark Horse graphic novel "Polar: Came from the Cold." The story focuses on an international assassin named Duncan Vizla (king Mads Mikkelsen), better known as the Black Kaiser, who is just a few days away from retirement upon which his company is set to pay him a massive pension. Mr. Blut (Matt Lucas), the owner of an organization of assassins called Damocles, doesn't want to give his pensioners their money, so he sends a murder squad of his most trusted employees to kill their former colleagues, which will allow the company gets to keep all the money. Mr. Blut is about to discover that eliminating the Black Kaiser is going to be a lot harder than he expected.
"The road you have chosen doesn't have a rainbow." (Image Source)
If you're even slightly sensitive to minor amounts of sex and nudity, violence and torture, and/or bad words, Netflix's "Polar" (2019) is 110% not the film for you. This film puts on an unabashed display of gratuitous sex, blood-splattering violence, and string-'em-up cruelty in each and every scene, enough of each to be the envy of both Russ Myers and Eli Roth. This point alone will be enough to cause some viewers to decry it as an offensive piece of trash..and to be fair, it is, but it's sort of our kind of trash?? Again, we've never denied that we're terrible people with terrible taste. For those who have little issue with such things, there's actually a semi-interesting story here. It could be compared to "John Wick" in that it has an assassin who comes out of seemingly impossible situations alive, all of which is set to a vibrant, popping visual aesthetic, though it still has nowhere near the same level of style, sense, or choreography. This is an interesting directorial approach considering the graphic novel sticks to almost exclusively shades of black, white, and orange. We love Mads Mikkelsen and have always enjoyed his work. As the Black Kaiser, he is a grizzled old butcher who has done his time and is haunted by a past mistake. Mikkelsen has a dry delivery that often comes off as very off-the-wall and humorous. Though the movie as a whole might be a mess, Mikkelsen's performance is not. Some people may say Mikkelsen isn't used to his full potential, but we think he was the perfect fit for a role like this. Most of the other characters are cartoonish in nature, and much of what happens in this story is handled with a thick layer of silliness and dark comedy.
Polar 2019 Netflix movie Katheryn Winnick
"Sometimes, the killer's in your head." (Image Source)
While Netflix's "Polar" (2019) is flawed and even a bit goofy at times, it seems very self-aware and at least attempts to make the most out of its flagrant, extreme nature. Sure, it could have been 26% less gratuitous and chauvinistic, but for the most part, we wound up finding it pretty crudely entertaining.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.3/10
RT Rating: ~24%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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