Up on the housetop like John Wick, down came the chimney with Die Hard St. Nick.
I skip such horror films like “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” and “The Mean One,” because they seem to be in a category I’d like to call: “You’re kidding, right?” So, a Christmas movie that combines “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Home Alone,” “Die Hard,” “Bad Santa,” and “John Wick” may sound like we’re in a typical point of Hollywood’s money-making business, but actually “Violent Night” is far from condescending. A Santa Clause, played by David Harbour, who gives some terrorists real lumps of coal of their asses sounds like something out of the world of “John Wick,” especially since it was produced by David Leitch-one of the geniuses behind it.
I trust this movie’s judgement based on how these kinds of action movies can sneak in the comedy and sneak in the actors who can eat up this R-rated behavior. Let’s have Harbour’s Santa drink beer like Billy Bob Thornton in “Bad Santa,” have a sweet little girl with a “Miracle on 34th Street” spirit,” have John Leguizamo playing the “Die Hard” villain,” and see where all this will go.
One of the reasons Santa drinks is because today’s kids are spoiled turds. They want video games, they want money, and they want iPhones, so they can post their stupid and mean antics for social media fame.
For instance, last week, my friends at AMC theaters we’re harassed and insulted by a group of YouTubers, with the channel Kanel Jospeh, who all taped outside food to themselves to try to sneak them into the theater. Obviously, they were denied up to the point of these hardworking employees nearing calling security. One of the hooligans accused them of racism, because one of them was African-American, and the other asked another manager if she was single-more than once. They all deserve to be on Santa’s Naughty List. Bottoms up!
Back to “Violent Night.”
The Leguizamo villain goes by the codename “Scrooge,” and he has a team of high tech criminals and soldiers to hold up a rich family, demanding a substantial amount of money. The matriarch Gertrude Lightstone (Beverly D’Angelo) is the foul-mouthed head of a corporation, who makes her two kids-the Nice Jason (Alex Hassell) and the Naughty Alva (Edi Patterson)-fight for her love. And she swears in front of her granddaughter-Jason’s sweet little girl Trudy (Leah Brady). Grandmother and mother of the year, no less.
All this little girl wants is for her father and mother (Alexis Louder) to get back together again, and to make her feel better, Jason gives her a walkie talkie that would allow her to speak to Santa. “He might be too busy, but who knows,” he tells her. It sure comes in handy, when the criminals come, and Santa wakes up from the house’s massage chair. That’s when St. Nick, becomes St. Wick. I know he would be like John McClane, but, come on, it rhymes.
The family and main antagonist even think it’s hard to believe that Santa would be real and killing off the henchmen, because they all live in reality. So, it does sound tedious in parts when the fantasies allow the little girl to believe in Santa, but it doesn’t have to act so tedious.
Do we really need to see all the carnage? No. But how often can we see this Santa act like if David Harbour was trying make up for his wasted performance in “Hellboy?” Not often. He has made it up to us with “Stranger Things,” “Black Widow,” and “No Sudden Move,” but in “Violent Night,” he’s actually having fun toying with the iconic Christmas figure. Even Leguizamo is wickedly funny as the villain, while Brady has the Nice innocence who’s smart enough to see the original “Home Alone.” I empathize the word “original.”
Director Tommy Wirkola (“Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”) mixes all our favorite movies in this particular genre into a Christmas margarita, one where “Fargo” is the salt. See the snowblower, and think of the wood chipper. Stay off his Naughty List.