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Putting the “R” in rocking around the Christmas tree 

Photo credit: Google open source

The Christmas spirit is back with a vengeance. In the latest movie from studio 87 North, “Violent Night” is a spin on the classic Christmas film. Except jolly old Saint Nick is not so jolly anymore, at least not after getting shot a few times. David Harbour falls effortlessly into role as a Santa Claus who needs to remember what Christmas is all about: spending time with family, looking a beautiful lights and wanton bloody murder.  

After getting abandoned by his reindeer, Kris Kringle finds himself trapped at a family mansion being robbed blind by a group of mercenaries. Santa ends up forming a bond with the youngest family member and embarks on a journey to save her, her family and Christmas for all children everywhere. 

For a movie so off the walls crazy, it really does manage to capture the Christmas spirit, for me at least, your mileage may vary. The aspects of the main family were surprisingly heartwarming. It was over the top when it needed to be, but also down to earth when the story called for it. The action is great as well, not at a John Wick level but it was still impressive. It made great use of the environment and Santa’s powers lead to some creative fights. The homages are also nice, “Violent Night” does not hide its inspirations from classic Christmas films like “Die Hard” and “Home Alone” as well as others. The references are not too over the top and “Violent Night” pulls the elements from those movies that help elevate them above others. The walk banter from die hard is a great example of this. 

 The movie does suffer from some tonal and pacing issues, especially in the third act, as well as predictable villains and twists. Shakespeare this is not, but it is a fun time. Santa’s got a machine gun, ho ho ho. 

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