review by Bobby Blakey
Director Tommy Wirkola burst onto the scene delivering one of my all-time favorite zombie flicks Dead Snow. Since he has brought both the sequel Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Now he is taking on the holiday season with his latest film Violent Night starring David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Cam Gigandet, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, Edi Patterson and Beverly D’Angelo. Could this holiday action film become a new Christmas classic or will it fail to bring the yuletide cheer?
Violent Night follows a team of mercenaries who break into a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone inside hostage, but the team isn’t prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus who is on the grounds and he’s about to show why this Nick is no saint.
I was sold on this film in premise alone, but with Harbour taking on the role of Santa it was sure to be a tone of fun. Add to the mix one of all-time favorites with John Leguizamo as the films big bad and it had all the makings of perfection. Now that I have gotten to experience this holiday blood fest I can happily say it has brought me all the Christmas cheer I could have hoped for and a damn fun flick to boot.
The film wastes no time in letting you know the kind of Santa we are dealing with and wraps the film in a nice bow of comedy, action and heart. It’s like a mash-up of Die Hard, Home Alone (which actually plays a part in the film) and the gore of Dead Snow to craft a film that is all kinds of hilarious and badass. I love this movie on every level from the fun violence to the silly one-liners that screamed 80s and 90s action flicks.
Harbour is all in as Santa and looks to be having a blast. He is not a jolly guy but still works to be the holiday icon. They could have done a
variation of this with just a guy dressed as Claus, but this route makes it all the more ridiculous and awesome. Leguizamo is awesome as the bad guy and looks to be having a lot of fun himself. Finally he got to get in on the action like he should have in the John Wick franchise where they sorely misused him.
The smart use of the Santa magic with the action is fun while coming up with a great way to keep it grounded as much as you can in this story. The story is simple and offers up just enough to create a basis to bring the action. There are some twists that aren’t all that hard to figure out, but still adds some fun to the story. The action is well done and plentiful. I think I thought it might be trying to go more straight forward like Wick or Nobody, but its messy, gritty, silly, violent and all around awesome.
I love this movie so much and it will for sure be in holiday rotation for years to come. In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including deleted and extended scenes, commentary, featurettes and more. Bring the pain filled holiday cheer of Violent Night home just in time for the holidays available now on digital, 4K, Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Home Entertainment.