VIOLENT NIGHT Review: This R-Rated Christmas Action Flick Hits The Spot
In terms of big-budget Hollywood production, I'm always looking forward for the new Christmas movies being released every year because who doesn't like a good Christmas movie? So far in 2022, we've had Spirited and the Christmas Story sequel which were both pretty good in their own rights. The next one on the (naughty) list was Violent Night starring David Harbour from Stranger Things. The premise of having this actor playing Santa Claus was an immediate buy for me and I think they delivered on the premise of an R-rated action Christmas movie.
Synopsis: "When a group of mercenaries attack the estate of a wealthy family, Santa Claus must step in to save the day (and Christmas)."
I actually had a lot of fun even though I didn't care for most of the characters in the film: this is the David Harbour show and he's here to sell us on this drunk warrior called Santa Claus. The recipe is there right from the beginning: adult humor, great music, Christmas tropes and bloody action mixed with some decent laughs. I've seen some people comparing it to Die Hard & Home Alone, it's not there in terms of quality but it certainly pays homage to those Christmas classics while making its own statement with the action, the gore and the booze.
If anything, I would compare this to Die Hard 2 more than anything else with the remote location in the snow, during Christmas. That's one of the reasons the movie works though, it's mostly set in one location and it's a big house for rich people so that makes for some interesting use of the space and the different rooms in the house. So when it comes to the action, there's a lot to explore. Unfortunately I didn't think they use the full potential of the location and maybe the action wasn't as impressive as it could've been. That being said, some moments had me laughing out loud and were quite brutal, overall it delivers on the action, I have no major complaints there.
At the end of the day, if the idea of having David Harbour playing an action version of Santa Claus sounds like something you might be interested in, don't overthink it and just go in there to have some Christmas fun. The music puts you in the mood right from the start and there's a genuinely great gag in the opening sequence that will let you know if you're going to be on board or not. It's not exactly a Christmas adventure for the whole family but I think it's going to hit well with late-night December moviegoers.
Initial Score: 7/10
Violent Night is now playing in theaters, and Merry Christmas to all.