Review: COLD BLOOD Is Barely Hospitable

FIRST IMPRESSION

Cold Blood hopes to offer a return-to-form for Jean Reno, but instead, it's mostly disappointing, with a bland and uninspired story.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Cold Blood is a new thriller film written and directed by Frédéric Petitjean and starring Jean Reno (Léon: The Professional), and it is just as generic as it sounds. The movie stars Reno as a hitman living in an isolated cabin whose life is disrupted when a woman who was injured in a snowmobile comes to his doorstep harboring a dark secret.

It seems like all aging action stars eventually make a film in which the point is, “I may be getting old, but I can still kick some butt!” Cold Blood is Reno’s attempt at doing just that, and it appears that this is the only reason for the movie to even exist. Reno single-handedly elevates what is an otherwise bland and frustrating thriller.

The film utilizes two parallel storylines — one involving Reno’s hitman and the woman who shows up at his door, and the other about a police officer investigating a case — and yet, the movie seems to hope that the audience won’t make a connection between the two, because when that connection is finally made, the film plays it out as if it were a big twist.

In addition to not fully coming together, neither of the storylines is entirely satisfying on their own. There are certainly hints of potential to be found in the hitman’s storyline, although none of the ideas or themes that the movie introduces are completely fleshed out. The police officer’s story, on the other hand, is simply not good, containing very little that is of legitimate interest.

cold blood cabin

Part of the reason why the film isn’t that interesting is that the character development is lackluster. The only character who is even given a personality is Reno’s hitman, Henry. None of the other characters have any memorable traits with which the audience can easily connect, and as such, it is difficult to get fully absorbed into the story.

This movie is worth watching for people who are fans of Reno, as he commands the screen with his usual suaveness and subtlety. Of course, his performance in Cold Blood isn’t among his best work, but it does suffice to prove that he is still a force to be reckoned with in action cinema and will make you want to revisit some of his earlier, more interesting turns.

On a technical level, the film is mostly very good. It is a tad disappointing that the movie wasn’t more action-packed, but as a thriller, it is pretty well shot. Petitjean was able to build suspense throughout using the camera even if the script isn’t the most intense or exciting. Thankfully, the filmmakers took advantage of the beautiful but intimidating mountainous setting in which the film was shot, giving the result a more atmospheric feel.

Cold Blood isn’t a bad film — it just isn’t a particularly memorable one, either. There are many ways in which this movie could have been improved, but as a starring vehicle for the aging action star Jean Reno, it suffices.

Cold Blood hits theaters and VOD on July 5.

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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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