Violent Night – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Violent Night – Santa’s Gift of Seasons Beatings

It is that time of the year for gift giving, caroling and … holiday films.   We all look forward to these joyous stories that provide wholesome tales of enjoyment.  Like any film, there are stories that ‘bend’ the rules of the genre.  With these films, they will create a different kind of enjoyment … but still an experience worth seeing.  In this review, I look at the latest holiday film with a twist.  With a simple premise, we have an overtly bloody path of action, cheesy moments, and heart.  Violent Night is a Christmas tale that shows how Santa delivers … even for the naughty.

It is Christmas Eve, and Santa Claus (David Harbour) is off doing his annual duty: delivering gifts to people around the world.  All seems well until he gets caught up in an awkward situation.  Through a twist of the tale, Santa Claus must find a way to save Christmas.  From the beginning, the outline seems like another typical holiday film.  You get your general introduction to the common elements of family, Christmas themes and winter setting.  That all changes with the introduction to Santa Claus.  Once he makes his screen debut, it adds a different flavor to the myth of Claus.  In this character, you witness a man beaten down a broken faith in the holidays.  Through subtle visual quips and one-liners, he has grown cynical over the years and is losing a bit of that Christmas Magic.  Believing this might be his ‘last’ time delivering gifts, he ends up at a the wealthy Lightstone Estate.  Going through his routine, he finds out that the family has been taken hostage by a gang of mercenaries, led by a man called Scrooge (John Leguizamo).  Through some convenient plot devices and the ‘ideal’ heart of change, he decides to save this family in hopes of saving Christmas.  From this point, we head into a second act that ‘bends’ the holiday theme towards a directive that dives into a satirical aspect of the genre.  As we follow Santa Claus, we see a mask on the themes through cheesy one-liners, crude humor, adult level actions and over-the-top characters.  There are a lot of cliches that compound throughout, but it is the underlining tone that gives the journey heart.  By spinning the theme towards something unexpected (even through obvious borrowed elements), it creates a simplistic experience that is funny, intense, and truly a tale to believe.  Santa Claus, through all the cynicism, sees a glimmer of hope within this family.  This ‘empowers’ him to, through comical and folic like scenes, strike fear into the enemy on his ‘naughty’ list. 

As the path of destruction continues, you start to see the levity of the tale.  Through a continued combination of one-liners, cheesy holiday puns and overtly insane action sequences, we are entertained by the character of Santa Claus and his unique ways of dispatching the villains to fight for that Christmas Spirit.  As Claus comes to a final confrontation with Scrooge, it leads into a third act that spins the crudeness into something genuine, leading to a holiday-like climax.  Violent Night is an action film with a holiday twist.  If you are a fan of crude humor, action films or like a spin of satire, this is one for you.  I say it is a definite fun time as a matinee.

Full Score – 3.5 out of 5 (Matinee)

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