Liam Neeson’s latest action flick Hard Powder will see the actor portray a snowplow driver out for revenge against the drug cartel who killed his son. While it seems like a long time ago at this point, Neeson was once primarily known as a dramatic actor, even earning an Oscar nomination for playing the title role in Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust-set film Schindler’s List. Outside of the occasional jaunt into genre territory – such as playing Qui-Gon Jinn in the Star Wars prequels or Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins – Neeson primarily plied his trade in dramas, romances, or historical pieces.
That all changed in 2008, when Neeson landed the lead role in Taken. Neeson proved quite adept at cinematic ass-kicking, and quickly became an unlikely action star at the age of 56. Now 66, Neeson shows no signs of slowing down, having since appeared in films like The A-Team, Unknown, The Grey, two Taken sequels, Non-Stop, Run All Night, and most recently, The Commuter. He also “released the Kraken” in Clash of the Titans and its sequel Wrath of the Titans.
According to Deadline, Neeson’s latest action effort will cast him in the role of Nels Coxman, a snowplow driver beloved enough in his small Colorado skiing town to have won the award of Citizen of the Year. Nels lives a pretty quiet, uneventful existence alongside his wife (Laura Dern) and their son. That is until his child is murdered by the local drug cartel, leading Nels to sidestep law enforcement and seek his own brand of revenge, using “only the tools of an outdoorsman and snowplow driver.” Unfortunately, doing this leads to a gang war that may end up destroying the entire town, unless the man who started it can stop it. Those small town Colorado gang wars are the worst.
Hard Powder is actually a remake of a 2014 Norwegian film with the English title of In Order of Disappearance. That film starred Stellan Skarsgard as the lead character, previously named Nils Dickman. Considering what they changed his name to for the American version, an anatomical joke seems pretty clearly intended there, and in fact the original film is considered a dark comedy as well as an action flick. Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland is returning to helm the remake, and won’t be the first filmmaker to redo his own work for an American audience.
Lionsgate has assigned Hard Powder a release date of February 8, 2019. This continues the trend of Neeson’s action movies releasing in the first quarter of the year, where they often have little competition, and can clean up nicely. For example, this year’s The Commuter – also a Lionsgate release – came out in January, and earned nearly $120 million worldwide on a budget of $40 million. The only other wide releases currently penciled in for February 8 are The Lego Movie 2 and a horror film called The Prodigy, neither of which is likely to have much audience crossover with Neeson’s latest.
Hard Powder hits theaters on February 8, 2019.