Violent Nights Review: David Harbor’s Santa Action Movie Is A Mess

yard for Assassin-Santa Claus action-comedy violent night Probably unbelievable. The newest addition to the “dark, outrageous Christmas movie” rule combines the subgenre’s greatest hits: It’s basically die hard response Home alonecombined with some satirical stories the rich are dominating cinema at the moment with movies like Sad triangle, Menuand Onion. And then, of course, there’s the fascinating angle of Strange things stars David Harbor as Drunk Santa. Throw in “flashbacks,” exploding torsos, Beverly D’Angelo, Bryan Adams’ needle stick, and the team’s script behind the air of 2020 Sonic Hedgehog, and you have what in theory is probably the best R-rated Christmas movie of all time. But it is the precise emphasis on intelligence rather than coherence that makes violent night so warm.

some violent nightsequence of the premise’s promise fulfillment. The opening sequence sets the stage for a movie very different from the one we actually end: Santa Claus (Harbour) — not a delusional pretender, but the mythical man himself. — drinking in a horizontal bar. The magic was gone, he groaned to the waiter. Children today are just as greedy and cynical as their parents. All they do is “want, crave, consume”. He downed his beer and went out the side door. The bartender followed him, shouting that the door led to the roof, and that patrons should not be on it. When she reached the top, she saw Santa taking off on her sleigh, and for a moment, her eyes widened. She believes in magic again—until she wallows in Santa’s nausea.

Santa Claus (David Harbor) drunkenly leans on his sleigh, a blood-red wooden boat-shaped vehicle carved with Norse runes, in Violence of the Night

Photo: Universal Pictures

This is a moment that violent nightskeptical and starry themes have merged successfully. For most of the film’s length, both are implemented lazily. Whenever writers and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters director Tommy Wirkola needed to break away from whatever narrative corner they had drawn themselves into, focusing on fervent hints about the magic of Christmas. In between those moments, withering irony will create a sense of unearned superiority. Much of the film’s affected grit is aimed at the Lightstones, the group of extremely wealthy bastards (and a relatively ordinary guy, as audiences always need a replacement) who gather to organize Christmas riots right after the movie starts coldly drunk.

Matriarch Gertrude Lightstone (D’Angelo) is some kind of powerful billionaire realtor – the exact nature of her work and wealth is still obscure, but she’s clearly not the person to play with. together. Gertrude’s sour parenting style has disfigured her children, especially her daughter Alva (Edi Patterson, reprising her character from Righteous Gems, right down to the same surname). Alva yearns for the authenticity her mother could never provide, and action star boyfriend Morgan Steel (Cam Gigandet) and influential son Bert (Alexander Elliot) are the part. extension of her own deprived self. By comparison, Lightstone’s son Jason (Alex Hassell) and young daughter Trudy (Leah Brady) are very well tuned, but that’s likely due to the influence of Trudy’s mother, Linda (Alexis Louder).

On Christmas Eve, the Lightstone family is held hostage by a professional criminal gang led by Hans Gruber, a sharp, evil villain codenamed Scrooge (John Leguizamo). The crook’s stated goal is to steal $300 million in cash from the Lightstone family vault. And what if a few rich guys died in the process? Oh good. The movie doesn’t do a very good job of arguing why audiences should care whether the main characters survive the night — it’s all around it as a film of malice, so evoking basic human dignity. person is a hoax. But regardless of whether they deserve to be saved or not, violent night give the Lightstones their own John McClane: Santa Claus, who is also trapped in the Lightstone mansion after drunkenly falling asleep in the massage chair amid a cookie binge.

Scrooge (John Leguizamo) leans menacingly on Santa Claus (David Harbor), who is tied to a chair by a string of lit white Christmas lights, in Violent Nights

Photo: Universal Pictures

But Santa isn’t a character to build a movie around, or at least his version of Harbor isn’t. Long stretches of the film are devoted to Harbor wandering around the property, or venting to Trudy over the walkie-talkie her father gave her at the beginning of the film. (How Santa got the radio is one of those “Uhhhh, Magic?” moment, or maybe an editing problem.) The more time the movie spends with Santa, the less meaningful his motivations become. And the audience has plenty of time to think about these things — violent night slow down to crawl midway, become too talkative and serious makes the scenario unbearable.

The only time Harbor really gets into the role is when he transforms Santa into a festive WWE character, stealthily following the bad guys with a wicked grin on his face, snarling a bra and Do the surgery yourself with a sewing kit. In the middle, reminiscing about a northernerThe style sequence reveals that Santa was once a Viking warrior named Nicomond the Red, whose penchant for skull-smashing violence was conveniently triggered by the terrifying circumstances of a special Christmas Eve. this distinction. It’s a fun idea, so it’s bad to act realistically in violent night is very weak. Part choreography and part sound effects, but either way, the result is the same as listening to music on a stereo with a broken speaker. By comparison, the horror splash effects are engaging and satisfying, another point of contradiction in this unfocused film.

Scrooge (John Leguizamo) grimaces and shoots an automatic rifle into the air with a large flash from the muzzle that looks like a scene from Scarface, but it's actually from Night Violence

Photo: Allen Fraser/Universal Pictures

violent night works best as it captures the warped sensibilities of the early ’90s Chris Columbus films, especially Home alone. It’s been frequently pointed out that it goes without saying that the events in that movie are truly horribly traumatic and violent, and Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin McCallister is a pint-sized social killer. Little Trudy Lightstone also has a sadistic streak in her, and the film’s most amnesiac scenes are played out with a sense of overjoyed fun, effectively creating a sense of giggling discomfort. The difference here is that those moments are designed with purpose. The film is fun with its crude action and outrageous bloodshed at the audience, but overall, violent nightBig red bags of self-aware tricks are overstuffed.

violent night in theaters on December 2.

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