Noob Reviews: Polar
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included helping explain specific points.
What is Polar?
Released in January 2019, Polar is a Netflix original film based on the graphic novel of the same name. Written by Jayson Rothwell and directed by Jonas Akerlund, Polar brings to life the notorious assassin Duncan Vizia (also known as The Black Kaiser) - who is just days from retirement.
Unfortunately, instead of letting this highly skilled and efficient killer retire in peace to his remote Montana lodge, his former employer (Blut) believes that instead of paying Duncan his retirement package, it would be easier to keep the money and use a small portion of it to have Duncan killed.
Luckily for Duncan, although he may be retired, he has years of field experience and numerous kills under his belt. So when Blut’s forces come for him, The Black Kaiser returns to an active state for one final mission. Revenge.
What type of genre is the film?
Polar is an action film with light elements of crime and drama that are interwoven throughout.
What age rating is Polar?
Polar has an age rating of 18 due to rather graphic scenes of violence, torture/mutilation and sex.
How long is Polar?
Polar has a runtime of an hour and fifty-eight minutes.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- The official trailer linked from Netflix’s YouTube channel -
Alternatively, you can also find Polar on Netflix here.
Who are some of the actors and actresses that we might know?
For a complete cast listing, please see the official IMDB page here.
What did you think about Polar?
Having watched Polar several times now, I have some solid opinions and thoughts towards the film, and all of them are good. Unfortunately, not everyone reviewing Polar has agreed over the last two years, and you may come across many negative reviews. But if you will allow me a few minutes more, let’s see if I can’t sway you into at least giving it a watch to form your own opinion.
One of the first things I noticed about Polar from its trailer alone was what a star-studded cast it had. With huge names in the entertainment industry like Mads Mikkelsen, Johnny Knoxville and Richard Dreyfuss having roles. Through to comedy legends like Matt Lucas and small screen legends like Katheryn Winnick, who has been in such series as Vikings, Wu Assassin and Bones. Needless to say, with such names coming to the stage, the acting, for the most part, was on point with well-delivered lines, a fantastic portrayal of their graphic novel influences and a natural energy shining through each scene. Unfortunately, Matt Lucas has his ups and downs playing Blut, and the team of assassins does suffer somewhat from rather dull support characters like Junkie Jane. But luckily, these are only a handful of moments in the almost two-hour runtime for the film.
When it comes to the story, having read the Polar graphic novel/webcomic series. I really believe that the film has delivered a fantastic Polar experience that is loyal to its source material and really does come to life with Mads Mikkelsen as the lead character. Whether it be his struggle with facing retirement. His awkwardness when attempting to meet new people and make new friends. Or a hilarious school talk in which he explains to a class of young children the death ceremonies of lesser-known tribes around the world - he just displays such range. And why not? Mads has such a wealth of material to pull from. One of the things I will just mention, though, is just like the graphic novels, there is a lot of explicit sex scenes and torture scenes that some people may find uncomfortable to watch. But bear with them, and they often pay off with additional dialogue and story that is a reward in itself. For example, you get to see how and why Duncan ends up with an eye patch but only do so by watching him get his eye removed. Something that might make the squeamish shy away.
Regarding the props, filming locations and wardrobes - again, everything is very true to the source material and beautifully recreated in such a way that both fans and new entrants to the Polar-verse alike will enjoy them. From the vast roaming wilderness of Montana to high-security inner-city estates and dank dripping warehouse basements. Everything is brought to life in such a way you can feel a sense of immersion and building atmosphere that at times just further serves to aid the building of tension. But the cinematography in its own right is also beautifully mastered. It captures every moment near perfectly, and there are many fascinating moments to be seen. Whether it be choreographed fight scenes, chase sequences or the more intimate face to face conversations, the angles of filming and the way the audio is mastered are noteworthy.
Overall, Polar has a lot to offer without having to rely too heavily on one specific aspect. For example, although this is an action film with some great fight sequences, the film also balances itself out in places with some rather morbid and dark humour. Or edges the fights with a heart to heart moment where Polar exposes his more vulnerable side where he lets slips he has emotions. In all honesty, I thought Polar, as I said above, is a fantastic film that I have seen several times before. It may not be perfect, but it is very true to its source material and is accessible to both Polar fans and non-fans alike as a stand-alone film.
What rating would you give Polar?
I would rate Polar as a 4.2 out of 5 bananas.
Although Polar is not as polished a film as it could have been, what we do have is an absolute blast. With strong characters, exhilarating action sequences and an unrivalled loyalty to its core material - Polar is an excellent watch for both fans and non-fans alike.
Admittedly, there are issues with the pacing and structure of the film at points, but these are so few, and far between that hopefully, they will be of little distraction. Should you pay them any attention at all.
Thank you very much for checking out the review. If you are interested in Polar and would like to check it out yourself, to form your own opinion, you can find it on Netflix here.