Tales of Liam Neeson's retirement from action movies have been greatly exaggerated. In late 2017, rumors began to swirl that the actor, now 66, was retiring from the action genre that has redefined and reinvigorated his career over the past decade. But that hasn't happened yet, and there's no sign that it's happening any time soon. The actor's latest film, Cold Pursuit, sees Neeson kicking butt and taking names once again as a father seeking revenge for his son's murder. Like many of Neeson's recent films, the movie definitely isn't lacking in the action department, but is Cold Pursuit based on a true story?
In the film, Neeson stars as snowplow driver (and local Citizen of the Year award winner) Nels Coxman, who later turns into a cold blooded killer targeting the gang of drug dealers who killed his son. The movie, which mixes action and dark comedy, feels like a movie rather than a true story. And it turns out there's a good reason for that, as Cold Pursuit is not based on a true story; it's based on another movie. The film is based on the 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance, which stars Stellan Skarsgård in a role similar to Neeson's.
The original film is a thoroughly Scandinavian affair. Its screenplay was written by Danish writer Kim Fupz Aakeson, it was directed by Norwegian filmmaker Hans Petter Moland, and its star, Skarsgård, is from Sweden. The film takes place in a fictional Norwegian town called Tylos, where Nils Dickman (Skarsgård) is a mild-mannered snow plow driver. He becomes both devastated and suspicious after his son dies of a heroin overdose, as he knows that his son was not a drug user. After doing some digging in the town's seedy underbelly, Dickman learns that his son was killed by drug dealers from a local gang, and he sets about tracking down and murdering all involved.
For Cold Pursuit, the same basic bones of the story have been retained. The snow plow driver's name has undergone a minor change (Nils Dickman to Nelson "Nels" Coxman), and the location has been moved from a small Norwegian town to a small American town in the Rocky Mountains, but much remains the same — including the director. Hans Petter Moland himself directed Cold Pursuit, essentially remaking his earlier film for an American audience. "It was a little bit like if you put on a play in Norway and somebody asks you to bring it to Broadway. It’s a chance to speak to a different audience," Moland told Empire of his decision to remake his own movie, while going on to reveal that Neeson's involvement helped sweeten the pot. "Liam was part of the suggested set-up, and that made it attractive and tempting."
Cold Pursuit may sound a little familiar to foreign movie buffs, but that's not because it's based on a true story. The movie is a remake of a film that's not even five years old yet, which explains why its story will seem so fresh to some fans. But since the remake is resulting in another Liam Neeson action flick, it seems unlikely that any fans will complain.