“Cold Blood” Is A Completely Generic Action Outing


The presence of Jean Reno in Cold Blood is undoubtedly meant to invoke memories of better movies like Leon: The Professional and Nikita. Sadly, that only exacerbates how poor this is. Cold Blood is a cliched and thoroughly mediocre action flick, trafficking almost exclusively in plot points we’ve seen done before, and better. Reno looks bored, the filmmaking is indifferent, and the 90 minute running time drags by. It’s the sort of project that you can’t figure out why it got the green light? Who wanted to see this? The folks involved barely seemed like they wanted to make it. It’s just an absolute slog to get though.

The film is a mix of action, drama, and mystery, though it doesn’t do any of that particularly well. When a snowmobile crashes in a secluded area, a young woman (Sarah Lind) is hurt. Dragging herself away from the wreck, she’s got a low chance of survival in the woods, until she’s picked up by a loner. The mysterious individual, whom she comes to know is named Henry (Reno), lives by a lake and has a spartan existence. The two don’t know or trust each other, and for good reason. As we quickly find out, Henry is a retired hitman, having recently completed a job that got him on the radar of the authorities, led by Kappa (Joe Anderson). As an investigation plays out, the two have to figure out if they can, or should, develop a level of trust. Frédéric Petitjean writes and directs, with supporting players including Samantha Bond, Ihor Ciszkewycz, François Guétary, David Gyasi, and more. The score is by Xavier Berthelot, while the cinematography (actually the one somewhat redeeming quality here) is courtesy of Thierry Arbogast.

Jean Reno deserves better than this. Mostly just playing off of his aforementioned turns in Leon: The Professional and Nikita, it’s a nothing part with almost nothing in the way of character development. And yet, he somehow fares the best, as the rest of the cast is riddled with bad accents, bizarre accents, or characters left out in the proverbial woods with almost nothing to do (I’m looking at you, Joe Anderson). Considering how uninterested the writing and directing from Frédéric Petitjean is, at least some solid acting would have moved the film along. However, that was not to be here.

Cold Blood is a quick paycheck for someone like Reno, while offering no hint that Petitjean is a filmmaker to watch out for. He just gives you nothing to work with. It’s not even bad enough to be fun. It’s just the cinematic equivalent of a long commute. It’s boring, not engaging, and you feel bad for others involved in the whole endeavor. Reno’s glory days of French hitmen cinema are long behind him, something this only accentuates. If there’s a single saving grace, it’s the occasionally decent cinematography, though that’s very much just putting lipstick on a pig. The whole flick is otherwise paper thin and beyond redemption.

Now playing, Cold Blood is an absolutely generic B movie. Without the badness that could make it fun, it’s merely a chore, from start to finish. In fact, one could argue that the fact that it looks good only makes it tougher to sit through, since it’s a waste of a perfectly competent DP. If you’re a fan of Reno, stick with something else. Revisit Leon: The Professional for the exact opposite of this. Nikita will do very nicely as well. Hell, his version of Godzilla is at least way more fun than this. Unless there’s absolutely nothing else to watch, there’s no reason to deal with mediocrity like this…

Cold Blood is in theaters now.

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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