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It might be just another version of the tried-and-tested Die Hard formula, but Violent Night is mostly bloody fun, with David Harbour as the stand-out MVP.

Take Die Hard and replace John McClane with Santa Clause (the real one) and you'll get a good idea about the style and mood of Violent Night, a predictable but fun over-the-top yuletide actioner.

The story strands Santa in the reclusive abode of a millionaire's family on Christmas Eve and pits him against a violent gang intent on stealing 300 million dollars from the family's vault. What follows is a series of bloody encounters between the criminals and Santa, while still shoe-horning in a wholesome family message.

Violent Night doesn't sound like a film that will necessarily work - and during some stretches it doesn't - but by and large the picture does keep you entertained for the best part of 100 minutes. Headliner David Harbour is a big part of that: the actor finds the perfect balance between a jaded Kris Kringle and a jolly Santa, and he appears to be having a blast dispatching the antagonist in ever more violent ways.

Another reason why Violent Night works better than expected is because the film isn't afraid to steal from the best, in particular Home Alone, which serves as a major inspiration for many of the best moments in the picture's final act.

Will Violent Night become a surprsing yuletide staple, like for example Bad Santa? I'm not too sure. the film is a bit too rough around the edges for that. But does the film make for a decent time at the movies? You bet your reindeer!

release: 2022

director: Tommy Wirkola

starring: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Beverly D'Angelo, Alex Hassell


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