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‘Violent Night’ 4K UHD (review)

Universal

What is it with vomiting scenes in movies these days?

I hate it in real life and I hate it in the movies. Violent Night gets on my bad side right off with one.

Luckily, that changes, and I credit David Harbour.

David Harbour is such a fun actor. No matter the tortures he goes through, be it in Stranger Things, Black Widow, or here in Violent Night, he rolls with the punches and still manages to twinkle. At the same time, he never gives less than a strong performance.

Although at first seen as depressed and disillusioned, Harbour as the genuine Santa Claus quickly won me over. When a bunch of folks on Santa’s naughty list—led by a scenery-chewing John Leguizamo—take ultra-rich Beverly D’Angelo’s dysfunctional family hostage on Christmas Eve, just as Santa’s catching a few winks in their house on his annual journey, he tries to not get involved.

But the one little girl in the house who believes in him makes contact with him and her belief inspires Santa to help them…but in ways that would never happen on a Rankin-Bass Christmas special.

After it gets going it’s all basically another Die Hard variant, albeit with the magical Kris Kringle as John McClane. There’s even a Die Hard reference early on. Home Alone gets a couple shoutouts and homages as well.

Extras include deleted and extended scenes, making of, featuette, and commentary.

Punny title aside, the film actually does get pretty violent and profane and as such is definitely not for everyone. Although humorous, Harbour’s Santa manages to bring something to this one that other Die Hard-type movies lack, and that’s heart. The spirit of Christmas, if you will. Even if Violent Night isn’t to your tastes, even if it offends you a little—or a lot—you may find yourself tearing up just a bit. This movie surprises you. Oh, and unlike the continued controversy over that aforementioned Bruce Willis flick, this one’s definitely a Christmas movie! It even has one of my personal favorite Christmas rock songs over the closing credits.

Booksteve recommends.

 

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