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  • Writer's pictureWill Scarbrough

Review: Violent Night

A team of elite mercenaries breaks into a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone inside hostage. But the team isn't prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus is on the grounds, and he's about to show why this Nick is no saint.

David Harbour, Beverly D’Angelo, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder & John Leguizamo.

Violent Night is the newest annual Christmas action flick of the year with surprisingly great drama that is unfortunately in the wrong movie. With a promising long take first action scene to kickstart the many fights that would follow, it would be right to assume that the film would show off more impressively choreographed action sequences. However, that wasn’t the case, the film had the fault of casting John Leguizamo as the villain, someone who is clearly too old to play an action villain and sell the fights. As fun as some scenes are with its creativity of the action, it can’t be ignored how lacklustre it is with its many cuts and familiar scenarios.

As said before, the drama is very much the highlight, giving us many moments of pure emotion and character development for many characters. These scenes have well written dialogue and impressive performances, especially from David Harbour who plays a terrific Santa Clause. Unfortunately, it is attached to inconsistent comedy that weights the film down a lot and throws it in the familiar category for action comedies. The idea of the film taking place in one location and mostly in one room is an idea that, while not original, has a lot of space for character development, particularly with flawed characters such as the rich family. While there is character development for a few,  its lack of depth with the most flawed characters and obnoxious ones are lost.

It’s difficult to critique a film that I did have a lot of fun with, but the expectations for something so much more can’t be ignored. The cinematography and lighting is vibrant and fun, yet riddled with continuity errors. Both narratively and visually, often raising questions without answers. The films best ideas aren’t pushed further and are annoyingly left behind which disappointed me. As I would have personally loved to dive deeper into Santa’s past through well shot sequences, which the film does have.

Despite all this, it’s a flick to have fun with and not entirely take seriously. The entire cast is good and do the best they can with the script, but after the impressively shot fight scene in the beginning, it’s hard not to be disappointed by what follows. Violent Night could have been more.

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