Polar (2019) – Review

A surprisingly action-packed movie that follows a talented, yet haunted hitman, who is nearing his retirement date and ready to collect a pension pay-out from the company he has been employed with. Unbeknown to him, he must fend off the same companies attempts to end his life, thus cancelling the pension pay-out he is expecting. In my opinion, one of the best films of 2019, but in the opinion of others, Polar is considered just a cheap and nasty John Wick rip-off. It’s worth noting that this movie is based on the Dark Horse Comics of the same name (Polar) with Mads Mikkelsen adopting the role of Duncan Vizla – the hitman.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Director: Jonas Akerlund
Writers: Jayson Rothwell, Víctor Santos
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Vanessa Hudgens

Heading into this one, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but with Mads Mikkelsen being cast as the lead role and primary hitman, it’s fair to say I loosely expected something a little darker, more mysterious and grittier than what eventually transpired.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the one thing I’d advise any viewer to do before sitting down and watching Polar, is to leave their realism in the next room. A huge suspension of belief is required (and then some), not only in terms of the storyline and outlandish action scenes but also in terms of many of the assassinations that occur throughout the flick – some will have you shaking your head in disbelief while others will have you covering your eyes in pure shock. As a viewer, you will even end up finding amusement from certain parts of the film as there’s a fair amount of comedic moments thrown in too.

With the above being said, I’d most definitely go as far as saying this has striking similarities with Killing Eve in terms of the surreal added elements of humour and highly contrasted and artistic cinematography that takes place. A real strength of the movie but at times some of the fonts that appeared for the viewer to read were tricky to comprehend and resembled text written using Snapchat or Instagram filters.

After reading some of the harsher critics, I can understand and appreciate many of the views when it comes to certain grey areas within the movie. For instance, some feel like there’s the occasional cheap dig at similar assassin style films (John Wick springing to mind), especially when Duncan Vizla stumbles across and then begins caring for a dog, only for that relationship to end rather shockingly and suddenly. Some would also say that Polar failed to take itself too seriously, but I think that was one of the sole purposes of the movie.

In regard to the acting performances, I found them pleasantly convincing – especially the performance from Mads Mikkelsen. He adopted the role of the lead hitman well and struck a particularly strong relationship with Camille (Vanessa Hudgens), who did what was required within the limited screen time given to her. You certainly found yourself caring about their relationship and the well-being of both characters, especially Camille, who seemingly got caught up in the madness randomly.

A nice addition was that of Matt Lucas, who appeared as Blut, the flashy and flamboyant head of the company was responsible for attempting to murder Duncan. He did a terrific job playing this uniquely crazy character.

Ultimately, if you’re the type of person that may enjoy some unbelievably brutal action scenes you may appreciate this bloody and violent thrill ride with a jaw dropping twist towards the end that should surely set up a sequel. Polar is currently streaming on Netflix.

“The fun continues tomorrow, Mr. Vizla.”

Blut – Polar

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