Available on Netflix SA
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Based on a comic series of the same name, Polar sees Danish-born bad-ass Mads Mikkelsen waste his talent in an ultraviolent action neo-noir about assassins.
Mads is Duncan – or The Black Kaiser – a jaded veteran assassin 14 days from retirement. He’s set to receive a big payout, but the corrupt company he works for plans to kill him before he gets it.
They send a group of their finest assassins after him, but of course getting rid of Duncan turns out to be harder than they thought. Polar is a gross film from beginning to end – full of unnecessary sexism, violence and human ugliness.
Director Jonas Åkerlund uses the most objectifying gaze he can muster in portraying the women in this film. Assassin Sindy is not a person, just a set of tits and ass, and Åkerlund reminds us of this by chopping the frame into two for her intro scene – with one portion a shot of her butt and the other a shot of her cleavage.
I suppose he’s going for gritty and lurid, in the vein of the comic book, but it’s offensive and tone-deaf. T
he problem is, Åkerlund seems to think he’s Quentin Tarantino, injecting gratuitous amounts of violence and torture into a film and calling it art. Tarantino’s violence works because his characters are finely crafted and his dialogue impeccable, Polar’s characters not so much.
A stripped-down, bleary-eyed Vanessa Hudgens comes in halfway through the film as Duncan’s new neighbour. It’s an interesting departure for the actress, but she picked the wrong movie to do it in. Polar is awful, cynical and yuck. Give it a skip.