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"Polar" Jonas Ã…kerlund

by Katherine Fernandez - Copy Editor
Wed, Feb 27th 2019 03:00 pm

Based on an acclaimed graphic novel series, “Polar,” is centered around veteran assassin Duncan “The Black Kaiser” Vizla (Mads Mikkelsen). Mikkelsen is somewhat typecast into this role, but he plays it extremely well so I can’t complain. 

The film kept true to the original art style of the graphic novel, incorporating the same gothic lettering from the webcomic to establish the constantly changing settings. It begins in the nondescript location of “somewhere in Chile” as a wide landscape shot shows an isolated mega mansion surrounded by a vibrant, lush forest. 

Like any retired hitman, Michael Green (Johnny Knoxville) spends his days binge drinking, snorting cocaine and having sex. Sindy (Ruby O. Fee), the airheaded lover who aims to please Michael, is quickly proven to have deadly seduction skills, distracting Michael while sniper Facundo (Anthony Grant) narrows his sights on him. After delivering the first blow, Facundo and Sindy’s partners, Hilde (Fei Ren) and Alexei (Josh Cruddas) go in for the kill.

 The kill team is picked up by a helicopter and as they fly away, they sing Earth, Wind & Fire’s iconic song “September.” This scene establishes that not only are the young team of Damocles assassins incredibly skilled and coordinated, they find great joy in their grisly occupation.

In Seattle, grey haired Duncan is receiving a check up from his doctor. We get a peek into his extensive medical history, littered with traumatic injuries that allude to his dangerous career. We see him in a particularly vulnerable position as his doctor administers a prostate exam. This is the first instance where we see a recurring theme throughout the film, the humanity behind the killer. The audience can easily develop a connection to Vizla, but perhaps I’m already inclined to love him because I’m a huge fan of Mikkelson’s previous works. We soon find out that Duncan, commonly referred to as is scheduled to retire in exactly two weeks. Head of Damocles Corporation, Mr. Blut, is set to pay him a pension of over $8 million. But Blut never intends to pay his employees their retirement funds, instead opting to kill off retired agents so the money would go back into the company to pay off his debts. 

The film then follows quite a predictable plot line. Duncan is sent on what is supposed to be his final mission, but quickly becomes privy to Blut’s plans for him. He falls in love with a traumatized girl named Camille (Vanessa Hudgens) who lives in the same remote town in Montana as he does and stops at nothing to save her when Blut kidnaps her. What follows is a gory 20 minute cat and mouse game filled with nonstop action until Duncan gets his comeuppance and rescues his innocent companion.

Although we never get a detailed backstory for Duncan, the twist ending offers insight into the things that haunt his dreams every night and it left me unsure of how I feel about him. I want to love his character unconditionally, especially because his humanity has been his key redeeming quality for the duration of the film but after the skeletons in his closet are exposed I find that my admiration for him faultered momentarily. The director has left the ending open for a sequel that I hope to see come to fruition.