Director: Jonas Akerlund
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Vanessa Hudgens, Katheryn Winnick and Matt Lucas
As much as Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services have stepped in to fill a long-felt vacuum by acquiring interesting fare or producing original content that may have otherwise not found funding, I feel that there is an overwhelming and unnecessary sense of urgency here. Netflix and others appear to be in a mad rush to produce and acquire just about anything. The result ? Some awful stuff is getting on board. Bobby Simha-starrer Vella Raja in Tamil is one example of a shoddily produced series. The other is Polar in English language that has just started streaming. A Netflix film, it is quite stupid.
We have often seen stories of hitman in works like The American and The Matador. Polar, helmed by Jonas Akerlund (better known for his music videos) , is the latest in this genre. It talks about Duncan , essayed by an excellent Danish actor, Mads Mikkelsen (seen in memorable movies like Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt and Julian Schnabel's An Eternity's Gate). But he disappoints us in Polar.
Also called Black Kaiser, Duncan is one of the most dreaded hitmen, and as the movie begins to roll, we see him all set to celebrate his 50th birthday – which will also mark his retirement. But his employer, Blut (Matt Lucas), is desperate to see him dead before that. For, the hitmen syndicate, which Blut owns, has to pay eight million dollars to Duncan as part of the retirement package. And, Blut has hired young assassins to bump off older hitmen before they touch 50, and Duncan is next on the list.
We all know how the plot will unfold, but Akerlund has a nice twist at the end that shows that Duncan is not all murder and mayhem. He has a soft side, and we actually see him teary eyed after his ruthless run pumping bullets into his victims, and in his off-time, playing in bed with a Russian beauty.
Polar is bold with a terrific lot of violence , sex and nudity – which a theatrical release in India would not have made it possible. Adapted from a web comic and Dark Horse graphic novel of the same name, Polar has flashy characters (Blut is one classic example), who appear crazily bizarre with hideously coloured hair and outlandish costumes, and in sequences that are bathed in blood and littered with bodies. The characters are sadistic, and a viewer needs strong guts to watch Polar. Even the sex that happens has little sanity.
But yes, Polar has a message that cannot be ignored. It seems to have a dig at corporate America's tendency to force employees into early retirement and denying them their rightful financial dues.
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