Violent Night Movie Review
Cool concept meets weird execution. If you lower EVERY expectation you have before going into this movie you will enjoy it, but at a cost. David Harbour shines as a depressed Santa at the end of his Christmas light string. The action is also way over the top and and gruesome to a certain degree. But if you want to enjoy the David Harbour performance we never knew we needed, you have to put up with a LOT. I love that the movie The Menu just came out, a movie where the main antagonist ridicules John Leguizamo (who plays an outdated action movie actor in The Menu) for doing joyless roles that demean him as an actor. Then literally weeks later this film comes out, which has John Leguizamo as the worst antagonist I've seen in any film this year, if not the last decade. He delivers his lines with no effort, and is very clearly not the fit for what the role was supposed to be. Even in scenes where the writers (more on them in a minute) try to make him look scary, he comes off as goofy, lame, and lackluster. Every single bad guy is written poorly, which would be fine, but this movie insists on giving each of them a turn in the spotlight. The writers of this movie tried way too hard to make a John Wick Christmas movie, and should have just focused on the core concept: David Harbour as a badass Santa taking out Naughty criminals. Gross. There is a LOT of talking in this "action" movie, which really boggles the mind. If it had been an hour and a half straight of Harbour using Christmas gimmicks to fight minions, this would have been a huge success. Instead the director works out his mommy issues for us, which stand out performances from Harbour and Alex Hassell can't save. I get that this is the movie you need to go in with zero expectations for, but the action was so fun to watch that I can't understand the need for an hour of talking about social class and mom was mean to me and blah blah blah. So if you can withstand the terrible Leguizamo performance and the horrible D list extras they picked as minions, you'll probably have a good time. Seriously, I know most of the budget must have gone to getting Harbour, but they really dragged the bottom of the South Pole to find the rest of the actors. Thankfully the movie is brief, the action is fun, and Harbour carries the film (when he is in it) on his lofty jolly shoulders.
Summary: A great performance from Harbour and stand out action scenes can't save the film from a boring antagonist and terrible writing/plot choices.