Thursday, July 04, 2019

Cold Blood: Jean Reno Plays Lone Wolf

Movies make terrible doctors. If you ever find yourself pierced by a foreign object, dislodging it could be fatal, but that is usually the first thing film characters do when they find themselves in that predicament. Frankly, our mystery snow-mobiler would probably be dead after the first five minutes, after she pulls loose an impaling tree branch. Fortunately, a grizzled cat like Jean Reno knows better. The reclusive hitman will nurse her back to health in director-screenwriter Frederic Petitjean’s Cold Blood, which opens tomorrow in New York.

Henry is a stealthy professional, who often uses untraceable ice bullets, including the job that kicks off the film. He then calmly returns to his remote Pacific Northwest retreat. It is a good thing he did, because it is his cabin Melody crawls to after her sudden snow mobile accident. She wanted to get away from everything—and she did.

His bedside manner is not so great, but Melody is not an especially gracious patient either. Nevertheless, Henry manages to nurse her back to health, even though neither of them trusts the other. Of course, their suspicions will be justified over time. Meanwhile, Deputy Kappa, a former NYPD cop, who relocated to Spokane for reasons even he doesn’t understand, diligently works the case of the industrialist Henry whacked during the film’s most interesting sequence.

Spokane has a population over 200,000 as well as its own airport, but everyone in the film acts like it is the equivalent of Twin Peaks. At least they pronounce it correctly. Honestly, viewers will wish they could see more of the city, because cabin fever sets in pretty quickly during this film. Jean Reno is one of the most reliable and under-appreciated hard-nosed actors in the business today, but watching him tend to Melody’s wounds and giving her stern advice gets old after a while. Honestly, not enough happens in Cold Blood and most of the events that transpire are ridiculously contrived.

In addition to Reno, Joe Anderson is also highly watchable as Kappa, perhaps because he truly looks like he resents every moment he is in the picture. That leaves Sarah Lind in an awkward spot, playing it straight opposite the steely Reno an in contrast to the snarky Anderson.

Nobody will have strong feelings for Cold Blood or vivid memories of the movie. It is easy to pinpoint the principal reason why: a script that clearly should have gone through further drafts. Petitjean even commits the sin of “Chekhov’s Wolf,” referencing a lobo “with the taste for human blood” in the first act, but never circling back to that plot point. Not recommended, Cold Blood opens tomorrow (7/5) in New York, at the Cinema Village.