Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Scott Mescudi, Harold Torres, and Catalina Sandino Moreno
Director: John Woo
Upon exiting the screening for Silent Night, it was evident my reaction was more negative than my colleagues, because I hated this film. Save for the impressive shots from director John Woo (which I can count on one hand) and a committed showing from Joel Kinnaman, this thing just has no teeth. The action sequences are lackluster, the story feels more like a parody than an actual plot, and there are some baffling directorial and script decisions. I can’t even credit any creative risks taken or innovative action set pieces because there are none. Silent Night is a misfire on all counts.
Joel Kinnaman is such an underrated actor, and he is the only thing keeping Silent Night from being nothing more than one long training montage followed by a straight-to-TV, B-movie parody. His gritty performance carries the proper weight to balance director John Woo’s pulp excess, and it creates surprisingly effective early emotional beats. That should’ve allowed the film’s over-the-top violence to feel earned, but it couldn’t save the subsequent devolution into laughably bad CGI, story, and stunts. I never thought I would say this, but it’s the action that sinks this legendary director’s first film in six years.
I'm a massive fan of legendary director John Woo, which makes it especially disheartening to say that his latest action film, Silent Night, is a big disappointment. While the action is pretty cool, and there are enough awesome shots throughout the film to enjoy, it takes way too long to get to those enjoyable parts. Most of the film is dedicated to uninteresting melodrama and establishing the (mostly) no dialogue gimmick that it doesn't even fully commit to. In the end, Silent Night is an overall fun enough experience, though not a great one.