It’s time for some season’s beatings with this Santa in this wild and fun action-comedy from the director of Dead Snow and the team who brought you John Wick and Nobody.
It’s Christmas Eve and Santa has just about had it. He’s seriously considering making this his last Christmas as kids have stopped believing and only care about the presents, notably material things. On his way to Connecticut, he arrives at the home of businesswoman Gertrude, who is having a family gathering with son Jason, daughter Alva, Alva’s boyfriend Morgan and son Bert, Jason’s ex-wife Linda and their daughter Trudy, who still believes in Santa and only wishes for her parents to get back together.
However, the night is cut short by a band of mercenaries led by one who names himself Mr. Scrooge. He informs Gertrude that he knows she is holding 300 million dollars in their vault, for her to distribute to companies in the Middle East. When Santa hears gunfire, he finds himself confronted by one of the mercenaries and soon enough, Santa begins to fight back. When Trudy starts to hear Santa, she knows he can be the one to save them, but it will take more than wits and guts for this Santa to defeat the gangsters. It will take some good ol’ Christmas cheer.
This is the Christmas action movie that is long needed. A Santa Claus who can kick some serious butt. And there are plenty of Christmas references and one-liners to make this film an experience to enjoy. Yes, action fans will love the bloody madness that is set to ensue while we get to see a virtually broken Santa on the road to redemption not only for the holiday, but himself as well. The film can be best described as Bad Santa meets John Wick.
David Harbour is great as our Santa here. He’s introduced at a British pub getting all sorts of drunk, reminiscing about how good Christmas used to be until people just stopped believing. This leads to a series of hilarious comic relief, from Santa vomiting and urinating from his sled mid-air to going to people’s homes and looking for alcohol rather than milk. He’s probably the craziest Santa since BNolly Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa with a dash of Mel Gibson’s Fatman. But soon enough, Santa goes into full John Wick-mode and this is where the fun begins.
John Leguizamo seems to know when it’s good to be funny and when it’s good to be serious. Here, he is quite the villain in Scrooge. All of his cohorts have special holiday names, like Candy Cane, Jingle, Krampus, and many more. Two of the associates, Frosty and Tinsel are played by Can Aydin and Phong Giang of Germany’s Reel Deel Stunts Team with third member Cha Lee-Yoon playing another eventual goon when the film takes quite an interesting turn.
With the exception of Trudy, played by Leah Brady, this has to be the most messed up group of both protagonists and adversaries in a film. Trudy is the film’s saving grace in terms of bringing the good in people. Especially Santa, who reveals to have a past life as a Norse warrior who has given up killing in hopes to do something good with his life. Even Trudy’s family all have their issues, from Alva’s nouveau-riche attitude to her arrogant action star boyfriend Morgan, played by Cam Gigandet, and her Tiktoker son Bert, who only cares about views. Even Trudy’s dad Jason, played by Cowboy Bebop’s Alex Haskell, seems like not a good dad when in a moment of pressure, tells something Trudy would never imagine hearing.
The action here is great to watch. Seeing Santa in one scene using a sledgehammer and reminding him of his past life to unload on a group of bad guys is as exciting as seeing Thor using the likes of either Mjolnir or Stormbreaker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or even when seeing John Wick using his “gun-jitsu” skills against bad guys. There are some insane bloody moments but they are sure worth checking out thanks to Harbour’s performance as the major butt-kicking and soul-crushing Santa.
Violent Night is the long-awaiting Christmas action film that is well needed as we see Santa how action fans have wanted to see him. David Harbour was perfect casting and even John Leguizamo impresses as the lead villain. Some great comic relief and one-liners mixed in with some skull-crushing and insane Wick-style action make this a holiday treat for action fans.
WFG RATING: A
Universal Pictures presents an 87North production. Director: Tommy Wirkola. Producers: Kelly McCormick, Guy Danella, and David Leitch. Writers: Pat Casey and Josh Miller. Cinematography: Matthew Weston. Editing: Jim Page.
Cast: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Beverly D’Angelo, Alex Haskell, Alexis Louder, Edi Patterson, Cam Gigandet, Leah Brady, Mitra Suri, Andre Erikson, Brendan Fletcher, Alexander Elliot, Mike Dopud, Can Aydin, Phong Giang, Cha Lee Yoon.