|Directed by||Jonas Åkerlund|
|Screenplay by||Jayson Rothwell|
|Cinematography||Pär M. Ekberg|
|Edited by||Doobie White|
Polar is a 2019 American neo-noir action film based on the 2012 webcomic. The film is directed by Jonas Åkerlund and stars Mads Mikkelsen, Vanessa Hudgens, Katheryn Winnick and Matt Lucas. It was released on January 25, 2019, streaming on Netflix.
Recently retired assassin Michael Green is killed at his home in Chile by a team of his former comrades from the Damocles corporation, a private security firm.
Duncan Vizla, aka "the Black Kaiser", another Damocles assassin, is preparing for his mandatory retirement at age 50 by checking in with his physician and financial adviser in Seattle. Duncan is set for life, having multiple properties spread across four states, his salary invested wisely, and is comfortably able to contribute $200,000 per year to a charitable trust. He has made the maximum pension fund contributions over his career, with matching contributions from Damocles. On his 50th birthday, in 14 days, he will be entitled to an immediate payout of half the fund, amounting to $8 million.
He is contacted by his handler, Vivian, who says Mr. Blut, the owner of the Damocles corporation, wants him to travel to Belarus to kill a hitman allegedly responsible for the murder of Michael Green and three other Damocles assassins before settling into retirement. Duncan declines.
Duncan disappears to the small town of Triple Oak, Montana, where he intends to settle into a quiet retirement at a lakeside cabin. He gathers the trappings of normalcy, getting a dog (which he accidentally kills during a post-traumatic stress-related episode) and doing favors for the neighbor, but Duncan is bored and haunted by recurring nightmares from his time as one of the world's premier killers-for-hire—in particular, a botched hit in which he ambushed a car carrying a family, when only the mark was supposed to be present.
It is revealed that Mr. Blut intends to sell Damocles and is killing off employees approaching retirement, thus avoiding paying out their pension funds to retain the money and inflating the company's value. Additionally, all Damocles employees have a contract clause stipulating that, should they die at any time without a will and named a beneficiary, Damocles Co. is their legal heir and assumes all of their assets. Vivian again reaches out to Duncan, doubling the price for the (fake) revenge assassination in Belarus. Duncan travels to Minsk and completes the job despite it being a trap to kill him before his birthday. Vivian advises Mr. Blut to pay Duncan in full and then allow Duncan to retire peacefully. Blut instead sends out the same hit squad that killed Green, who begin searching for Duncan at his numerous properties.
Duncan returns to Triple Oak and attempts to be normal, with often awkward and accidentally violent missteps. Duncan has one neighbor, a jumpy and nervous young woman named Camille, whom the chatty general store owner introduces him to during his trip to town for birthday supplies. Camille is shy and easily frightened, but Duncan takes a liking to her and the two awkward people become friends. She encourages him to get involved in the town by teaching a class of school children about the many countries he's visited, and he purchases her a gift and acts as a sympathetic audience when she opens up about being raped by a drunk library worker in the past and fantasizing about murdering him in an effort to end her trauma.
The assassins tracking Duncan have killed their way through Duncan's colorful tenants but found no trace of him at any of his listed properties. They head to Triple Oak since Duncan makes his annual charity donations through the local bank. One of the assassins, Sindy, pretends her car has broken down, and Duncan takes her home. She seduces him into a game rough sex, with the plan for another assassin to kill him by sniper rifle when she moves to fellatio. The ambush fails, and Duncan turns the tables and kills them one by one, including Blut's girlfriend, Hilde, but Camille is kidnapped and used as bait to draw him into the open.
Duncan travels to Detroit to get information from a former mentor, Porter, who informs Duncan of the inheritance clauses in his contract and the plot to kill and collect on the pension funds. Porter betrays him and drugs him in order to turn him over to Damocles. With four days until Duncan's birthday (when he'll receive his $8 million payout), Blut decides to retaliate for Hilde's death by torturing Duncan for three days before killing him, while Camille is repeatedly injected with drugs. Duncan endures significant torture before breaking free and slaughtering Damocles agents during his escape. He makes his way to an old lover, Jazmin, who tends to his wounds and supplies him with weaponry. Offering to trade himself for Camille, Duncan lures Vivian and dozens of Damocles mercenaries to a remote location, where he slaughters them with Jazmin's remote-controlled machine guns. Blut's remaining men desert him, and Duncan arrives at Damocles headquarters, where he decapitates Blut.
Duncan finds Camille heavily drugged and brings her back to Triple Oak to nurse her back to health. One morning, he finds papers in her room—check stubs from his own charitable donations and newspaper clippings about the botched assassination that has haunted him for years. Camille reveals that she was the child Duncan had spared that day—the only member of the family to survive—and that she had been receiving the $200,000 a year he donated to a trust fund set up to care for that child. Much like the Damocles hit squad, she had followed the money to the town and purchased a home there in the hopes of finding him and taking her revenge.
Duncan offers her the opportunity to kill him, but she cannot bring herself to do so. Instead, she asks him to help her track down who had put a hit out on her father, and he agrees.
- Mads Mikkelsen as Duncan Vizla
- Vanessa Hudgens as Camille
- Katheryn Winnick as Vivian
- Matt Lucas as Blut
- Josh Cruddas as Alexei
- Ruby O. Fee as Sindy
- Anthony Grant as Facundo
- Robert Maillet as Karl
- Fei Ren as Hilde
- Inga Cadranel as Regina
- Pedro Miguel Arce as Pedro
- Johnny Knoxville as Michael Green
- Richard Dreyfuss as Porter
- Ayisha Issa as Jazmin
- Lovina Yavari as Junkie Jane
The film was first announced in October 2014 as a live action adaptation of Dark Horse Comics' Polar, developed by Dark Horse Entertainment and Constantin Film. A spec script for the film by Jayson Rothwell was purchased. In October 2017, Mads Mikkelsen signed on to star in the film. In February 2018, Vanessa Hudgens, Katheryn Winnick and Matt Lucas joined the cast with Netflix onboard to distribute the film.
Netflix started streaming the film on January 25, 2019, with Deadmau5 releasing the soundtrack on the same day.
The film's soundtrack album was released by Deadmau5 on January 25, 2019, through his record label Mau5trap. The soundtrack's release details were announced on January 8, 2019, along with the film's initial trailer. A single from the soundtrack album, "Midas Heel" was released on January 11, 2019, followed by the vocal version called "Drama Free" featuring Lights which was previously released on Mau5ville: Level 2. Several tracks of the score (such as "Somb", "Wilhelm" and "End") feature elements from Deadmau5's previous tracks from his seventh studio album While(1<2), as well as two new tracks named "Nosedive" and "Camilla", the former being a remake of his unreleased track "Rio", the latter being known previously as "Suite 02".
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 20% based on 45 reviews, with a weighted average of 3.28/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "An action thriller starring Mads Mikkelsen as the world's most dangerous assassin should be terrifically entertaining, but Polar proves it's possible to ruin anything if you try." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 19 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike".
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