I love Christmas movies. I also happen to love Die Hard and firmly state it is a Christmas movie. So when I heard about Violent Night, I truly wanted to see it. Given that it also stars David Harbour, it was a certainty that I wanted to see it. In this movie, I found David Harbour incredibly engaging and funny. I also found the movie funny from beginning to end, with tons of action. It was one of the most entertaining holiday films I’ve seen.

Violent Night is an action comedy Christmas movie directed by Tommy Wirkola and written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller. In the movie, Santa (David Harbour) has lost his Christmas spirit but continues his rounds. In the meantime, a paramilitary group led by a man called Scrooge (John Leguizamo) seizes the estate of a wealthy family, the Lightstones, on Christmas Eve. Santa receives a call for help from Trudy Lightstone (Leah Brady); her entire family is in danger, especially her mother, Linda (Alexis Louder), and her father, Jason (Alex Hassell). Santa steps in to answer her Christmas wish and help save the day. But will he survive and manage to save Trudy and her family? The movie also stars Beverly D’Angelo as Gertrude, the matriarch of the Lightstone family, and Edi Patterson as Alva, Gertrude’s daughter.

One of the elements that impressed me the most was the attempt to build a different concept of Santa Claus mythology. While there are elements that are similar to other movies and films, the film does add its own spin to the legend, including building an interesting backstory for Santa. They also build some interesting tools for Santa, the ability to shimmer up a chimney, a magic bag of presents, and a list that lets him see every person and their status on the naughty or nice list. Those little details add to the fun of the film.

Another aspect that makes the film entertaining is the comedy scenes. From beginning to end, this is a movie that is funny, laugh-out-loud funny. Santa chides the reindeer when they don’t listen to him, for example, or the Home Alone references throughout the movie, including the traps Trudy sets for the bad guys who are looking for her. There is even a Die Hard reference that will cause laughs for those who love it as a Christmas movie. Some of the skits and fights and the ways Santa handles the bad guys create humor throughout the movie. The gag with Santa’s list and his bag of presents is one of the funniest bits in the movie. It is rare that a movie can combine comedy and action so seamlessly, but this movie does it well.

The action is equally entertaining. David Harbour is a convincing Santa, but not one that is without muscles or the ability to fight. The movie also doesn’t make him perfect. The bad guys have guns which Santa isn’t familiar with, but the film allows him his own skills and the ability to handle the fights. But he isn’t the only one with fighting skills. John Leguizamo holds his own in his action scenes. And while the Lightstone family aren’t great fighters, they still manage to take out a bad guy or two.

The performances are great. David Harbour has fantastic comedic timing and manages to imbue his performance with caring and spirit. He holds the scene with magnetism and charisma. His scenes with Leah Brady playing Trudy have a rich dynamic. They each play a part in creating a funny and fun movie. John Leguizamo is compelling as the villain of the story. Alex Hassell as Jason and Alexis Louder as Linda are both funny but also caring as Trudy’s parents. Beverly D’Angelo is hilarious, as is Edi Patterson. All of the performances are wonderful.

The only critique I have is that the setup of the story is predictable. The villains are easy to spot, and even their scheme is easy to figure out. While the Santa concepts are interesting and different, the plot of the bad guys is not new or original. Still, the comedy and action combine to create a fun and entertaining movie, one that I liked immensely.

If you like David Harbour or you’re a fan of action Christmas movies like Die Hard, this movie is absolutely one you will want to see. While the villains are predictable, the family bickering, the comedy elements, and Santa are not. The movie is funny from the first to the last, and David Harbour makes one sexy Santa. His performance is rich and compelling, and all the actors in this film are fantastic. This is my new favorite Christmas movie, and I’m likely to watch it year after year.

Rating: 4.5 hammers out of 5.

Official Website: Violent Night | Trailer & Movie Site | December 2, 2022
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Violent Night

Genre: Action/Comedy/Crime/Thriller

From 87North, the bare-knuckle producers of NOBODY, JOHN WICK, ATOMIC BLONDE, DEADPOOL 2, BULLET TRAIN and FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW comes a coal-dark holiday action-comedy that says you should always bet on red.
When a team of mercenaries breaks into a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone inside hostage, the team isn’t prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus (David Harbour, BLACK WIDOW, STRANGER THINGS series) is on the grounds, and he’s about to show why this Nick is no saint.
The film also stars Emmy winner John Leguizamo (JOHN WICK), Cam Gigandet (WITHOUT REMORSE), Alex Hassell (COWBOY BEPOP), Alexis Louder (THE TOMORROW WAR), Edi Patterson (THE RIGHTEOUS GEMSTONES) and Beverly D’Angelo (NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION franchise).
Directed by razor-edged Norwegian director Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, DEAD SNOW franchise), VIOLENT NIGHT is produced by 87North’s Kelly McCormick David Leitch and Guy Danella. The original screenplay is by Pat Casey & Josh Miller, the writers of SONIC THE HEDGEHOG. The film’s executive producer is Marc S. Fischer.
VIOLENT NIGHT opens wide in theaters on Friday, December 2, 2022.

ONE-LINER: When a group of mercenaries attack the estate of a wealthy family, Santa Claus must step in to save the day (and Christmas).


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