Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: After a remote diamond mine collapses in the far northern regions of Canada an ice driver leads an implausible rescue mission over a frozen ocean to save the lives of trapped miners despite thawing waters and a threat they never see coming.
Review: So you want to make a Liam Neeson movie? It’s simple, you just need three ingredients: a grizzled, somewhat exhausted-looking Neeson (of course); a very specific job type set in a somewhat remote location (US air marshal/biochemist/Jedi); and last, but not least, some butts that need saving. Put it all together and Bam! Neeson movie.
If you’re EXTRA lucky you’ll get something memorable like Taken or The Grey but most times what you’re left with is a middle-of-the-road, somewhat enjoyable thriller that is good for passing the time, but not much more than that. Which brings us to The Ice Road.
I’ll give this movie points for a couple of things, the first being the impressive scenery and beautiful vistas captured by director Jonathan Hensleigh. Having never experienced snow myself I’m always a bit in awe of the fact people actually live in places that are blanketed by the stuff year round. The story here takes place in the remote region of Manitoba, Canada and while I would love to visit to see firsthand all that breathtaking snowy beauty I would never want to live there.
The second thing that stood out for me was how much attention was paid to the dangers of being an ice road truck driver. Having seen the television series Ice Truckers I know this is actually something people do to make a living, driving on what’s essentially frozen lakes and oceans in trucks that weigh thousands of pounds. And Hensleigh does a solid job of showing not just the dangers of this but also pays attention to little details (the use of bobbleheads to measure vibrations) that would be lost on us viewers who have zero experience with this sort of thing.
It’s a shame the same kind of energy wasn’t used in the rest of the movie because the balance of the story is just skating on thin ice (Get it? thin ice? I’ll stop now).
We have Liam Neeson once again doing his world-weary, tired-of-it-all shtick, but at least this time his accent isn’t an issue as he very early on tells someone to kiss his Irish ass. The trailer got me all hyped for Laurence “Morpheus” Fishburne starring in a Neeson action movie, but either they couldn’t afford him or he had something else to get to because my man was in and out of this thing faster than you could say blue or red pill. What a waste.
The action sequences with the trucks stand out as something a bit different but everything else, including the by-the-numbers villain (whose only motivation is greed) and his disposable henchmen, is forgettable. And due to the pacing and editing you never truly get a sense of how much time (other than the characters mentioning it every now and again) the miners had left. There’s no sense of urgency to any of it which is a big no-no in a movie that’s supposed to be thrilling.
What’s there left to say? If you’re a diehard Neeson fan, you’ll probably get more out of The Ice Road than I did. For me it had some nice visuals, an intriguing set up and…that’s about it. It’s not the worst of his recent films (The Marksman bored the hell outta me) and, like the sushi I picked up at the grocery the other day, it’s not bad.
Would I recommend it to friends? Nah. But I didn’t get food poisoning so…that’s something, I guess.
Sommer’s Score: 5.5 out of 10
So are you a diehard Neeson fan? Do you want more Neeson? Stupid question. Of course you want more Neeson! Well we got more Neeson! Oh yeah!
Liam Neeson’s The Marksman is a Lazy Misfire
Honest Thief is a Forgettable, Mediocre Action Thriller
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
Double Tap Baby!