Despite a cast including Mads Mikkelsen, Vanessa Hudgens and Katheryn Winnick, the movie has a lowly 20% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s another poorly received film for the streaming giant, which received negative feedback for Bird Box and IO in recent months as well. Why exactly are critics railing against this?
The 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.”
The New York Times said: “If it has any redeeming qualities, it chooses to keep them a secret.”
And in a similarly negative critique, Entertainment Weekly wrote: “A gleefully unhinged teenage-boy dream that aims only for hard, shiny surfaces, and stays there.”
RogerEbert.com went hard with: “A gross, stupid and relentlessly ugly film from start to finish.”
“This abhorrent actioner is vulgar auteurism at its most depraved,” said Variety.
The Daily Dot summarised: “If Netflix’s Polar wasn’t so sexist, it would be amusing, trashy fun.”
And in a lowly 1.5/5 review, Den of Geek said: “[Mikkelsen] is one of the most enigmatic actors working today.
“But the cinematic scaffolding around him is so rickety that it’s hard to ever really sink in and enjoy his handiwork before his spell is broken by some inane slapstick comedy.”
It wasn’t all negative: Hollywood Reporter were reasonably positive.
“Polar is pure trash, but the generousness – and, in the final stretch, the poignancy – with which Mikkelsen approaches even the most lurid of the film’s conceits at least pushes it toward the top of the garbage heap,” they said.
And Thrillist reasoned: “Polar isn’t for everyone, but you can’t say it pulls any punches.”
Polar is streaming on Netflix now.