This week I chose to watch the Netflix original crime action movie, "Polar."
"Polar" is about a highly skilled and aging assassin, Duncan Vizla (played by Mads Mikkelsen), who is roughly two weeks out of retiring.
However, the company he worked for devised a plan where they would receive the money he's earned if he dies before he can officially retire. Vizla then moves to a tiny, snowy Michigan town to live peacefully and in solitude before he becomes hunted and has to fight against much younger assassins in order to make it to retirement.
The movie also stars Vanessa Hudgens as "Camille," Vizla's neighbor who he spends some time with and Katheryn Winnick as "Vivian," another agent in Vizla's company.
"Polar" is a fairly fun and somewhat quirky action movie, however, the supporting cast, namely the main "villain," Blut (played by Matt Lucas), who is the owner of the assassin company, and the other opposing assassins are fairly disappointing.
What does make this movie entertaining to watch, is learning about Vizla and watching him outsmart his employer and completely wreaking havoc on anyone who tries to kill them. The way he fights and kills the people that are after him, are a close resemblance to John Wick.
He will use just about anything to win a fight and uses his environment to get an edge, often popping in and out of shadows like Batman or the boogieman. His sort of genius in these fights are fun to watch, although not for the faint of heart. Vizla likes to break bones and he's not afraid to spill blood. And lots of it. But that's something you'd expect out of a master assassin, right?
On top of that though, the movie shows an unnecessary amount of sexuality, and right out of the gate. In fact, one "assassin's" job is to entice a target by wearing skimpy, revealing clothes, making their target easy to hit.
Ultimately, it was as if the writers said "Hey, I just want to make this movie over-the-top in just about every way." And they did. However, it still makes it fun to watch in a "wow, this is so ridiculous it's entertaining" way.
Although Mikkelsen's performance, brings you back down to earth. His character is very somber and brooding and often prefers solitude over human conversation, which is a nice contrast to the quirky, overzealous and somewhat nonsensical supporting characters.
Blut, the main antagonist, who orders to have Vizla killed in order to keep his company's fortune, is a ridiculous and, to put simply, awful character. His performance takes you out of the movie as it's opposite of convincing.
His character is not foreboding as you would imagine an owner of an assassin company. Instead he is laughing stock of a spoiled, whiny, overgrown man-child.
In most movies, the villain is painted as an evil guy who the viewer wants to see defeated purely because of how terrible of a person they are and their evil intentions. But, in this case, you just want to see him be killed by Vizla so you don't have to watch his performance.
The movie does nothing in the way of painting him as a person you want to see gone because of their goals and menace. Instead, you just want to see his annoying presence disappear.
As far as the supporting cast, there is a group of assassins who have seemed to work together for quite some time, that are sent after Vizla and dubbed by Blut as the "A team." However, they are everything but the "A team."
Their performances are almost as bad as Blut's character and are very quirky. Sometimes quirky can work and adds an extra dimension to a movie as long as it fits with the feel. But, this group seems like a medley of B list actors drummed up and the director said "Eh, it'll work."
They simply don't make much sense and for lack of a better description, just feels weird.
Putting the supporting cast and antagonist awful acting performances and weird characters aside, Mikkelsen's performance and character are great. It's fun to watch Vizla develop over the course of the movie. The movie shows a soft side to a gritty, cold and genius-like killer, making him a compelling character.
He begins to bond with his neighbor, Camille, who shows clear signs of being constantly paranoid and being damaged. Watching the two, who are clearly not good at human interaction, is interesting and keeps you wanting to know where things will go.
Camille's character development is compelling to watch as you can see something has scarred her in her past and you want to figure out what it is. Part of that, becomes the best and most compelling part of the movie, as you watch a person whose made a living out of permanently damaging people bond with a forever damaged younger woman.
That part of the movie is a nice juxtaposition with the gunslinging, bone breaking, blood spilling action scenes.
Overall, "Polar" is an entertaining action movie where you can turn your mind off and watch as a master assassin uses experience, skill and eerie genius to take out his potential killers all the while exploring his character as he interacts with his neighbor. You also won't mind him absolutely destroying the awful characters in the movie either.
Do what you will with this week's Netflix Fix and happy streaming, ladies and gents.
Avery Seeger is a staff writer at the Kentucky New Era. His column expounds on his love of movies and goal to produce films one day. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AveryNewEra
Star Rating: 3/5