06th Feb2019

‘Polar’ Review (Netflix)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Vanessa Hudgens, Katheryn Winnick, Fei Ren, Ruby O. Fee, Matt Lucas, Robert Maillet, Anthony Grant, Josh Cruddas, Lovina Yavari, Ayisha Issa, Pedro Miguel Arce, Anastasia Marinina, Martin Zolotarev, Richard Dreyfuss | Written by Jayson Rothwell | Directed by Jonas Åkerlund


Directed by Jonas Åkerlund, Polar is the latest graphic novel adaption in the world of cinema, in particular, to hit Netflix. Starring Mads Mikkelsen as retired assassin Duncan Vizla hunted down by the shady assassin syndicate who once employed his services as a seasoned killer. The result, while enjoyable on occasion with a multitude of outrageous action set pieces is on a whole overabundantly dependable on a repellent colour grading and boorish style with peevish misogyny.

Polar offers a great deal of bloodshed and abstract character yet sadly thinks they’re the highlight of a picture that denies the audience even a minuscule or basic form of personal engagement or depth. Fundamentally we’re rooting with a notorious stoic killer that has zero depth or charisma. Battling against a group of assassins that are the complete opposite with high doses of flat energy and a vivid colour scheme, which after the horrifyingly abrupt and childish opening with a Johnny Knoxville cameo thrown in for good measure slowly but surely become painfully sickening as the film progresses. Their screen time is quite frankly vile.

The level of misogyny and over-sexualisation of characters is tone deaf beyond belief. It is neither empowering to the women on screen for that matter or contextually appropriate to the characters, leading them to be empty sex objects. Ruby O. Fee’s Sindy suffers the most from what is fundamentally sexual exploitation on the filmmaker’s part. Devoid of any depth, layer or personality and what is showcased is her body.

Mads Mikkelsen is stellar in the titular role with zero material to work with, aside from an injection of montage giving an inclination to his past that is used as a subtle yet terrible twist in the final act. A truly atrocious decision to tie the plot together but the intended effect is just left reeling in pitty and doubt. Matt Lucas crime boss Blut is an utter disaster. It is hard to find any other word than cringe-worthy to describe such a deplorable and gauche performance that doesn’t work on a plentiful of levels.

Polar finds a tedious imbalance of risible ridiculousness in skimpy PVC clad women and ultra-toxic masculinity that tries to provide a form of entertainment yet evokes such a sense of grand insensitive blandness you’ll find every excuse to pause and move on with every chance you’ll get.

Polar is available to watch now on Netflix.


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