If you just looked at that headline and thought “Wait, didn’t I just read this last week?”, be advised that this is a completely normal reaction. You’re just thinking of that other Mads Mikkelsen film, the one that happens to be named Arctic. That one, which also released its first trailer last week, stars the former Hannibal Lecter as a man fighting to save the life of his significant other after crash-landing a plane in the frozen north.
Polar, on the other hand, is what appears to be a similarly titled John Wick ripoff, headed to Netflix. Got that straight now? Great.
Polar is apparently based on the “acclaimed graphic novel” of the same name, and features Mikkelsen in the lead role of retired international hitman Kaiser Black. The official synopsis reads as follows:
Polar depicts the story of international hitman Kaiser Black, the titular character of Santos’ 2009 graphic novel Black Kaiser, as he is forced out of retirement after an assassination attempt is made on his life. The story, described as “bleak”, features a femme fatale character and a large amount of gore, and it is set in an icy landscape. The webcomic is notable for its lack of dialogue and speech balloons, and features a somewhat minimalistic style in color, being rendered entirely in stark black, white, and orange.
Some of those stylistic choices seem to have carried over to the film, but certainly not all of them, which is to be expected. Mikkelsen’s appearance certainly hits the right sort of cartoonish tone for a shoot-em-up film in the vein of 2006’s Smokin’ Aces, with an eyepatch that evokes the likes of Solid Snake/Snake Plissken from Escape to New York. On the other hand, you kind of have to stifle a laugh when you see the two stars’ names played off against each other: “Mads Mikkelsen. Vanessa Hudgens. POLAR.” Okay guys, that’s one heck of a duo right there.
Polar is directed by Jonas Åkerlund, primarily known for his work in music videos, including a Grammy for Madonna’s “Ray of Light” in 1998. It can also boast a score with at least some level of contribution from EDM artist/DJ Deadmau5, which we have to admit isn’t the kind of thing you see every day.
Perhaps if Polar simply serves up enough Oldboy/Daredevil-style hallway fights, it will be enough to please genre fans? Check out the full trailer below. Polar hits Netflix on Jan. 25, 2019.