When you loved the fact collection “Ice Road Truckers” however though it may use some frantic gunfire, mechanical sabotages, and intentional avalanches to intensify the diploma of issue, you’re in luck. Now there’s “The Ice Road,” nevertheless it’s a totally middling Liam Neeson actioner that’s not almost as thrilling because the above description makes it sound.
Chances are you’ll be questioning, as I did: “Two Liam Neeson motion pictures in beneath six months? On this financial system?” Sure, the grizzled star is certainly again after January’s “The Marksman.” Each requires him to brandish his specific set of abilities to rescue us at risk and vanquish dangerous guys, however, the abilities aren’t almost so refined or complicated anymore, and neither movie comes near the visceral thrills of a “Taken” or “The Grey.”
It’s been a very long time since peak Liam Neeson, and at this level, his gruff, imposing presence can solely accomplish that a lot to make a film watchable. Regardless of its many perils, each pure and human, “The Ice Road” is surprisingly boring. It’s undoubtedly not as loopy because it ought to have been, given the setting and the stakes. And whereas author/director Jonathan Hensleigh establishes a foreboding tone with spectacular, widescreen vistas of unforgiving, snowy expanses, his motion sequences stay unexceptional.
Hensleigh begins with an explosion at a distant diamond mine in far northern Manitoba, Canada, which traps about two dozen males inside. Whereas they bicker about methane ranges and faucet out messages on pipes to the skin world, gear to free them slowly makes its approach of their path. Neeson’s Mike McCann is a part of a three-truck convoy that should trek throughout treacherous ice roads—plowed pathways carved throughout large frozen lakes—to achieve their eventual vacation spot. Within the passenger seat are Mike’s youthful brother, Gurty (Marcus Thomas), a mechanic and Iraq conflict veteran affected by PTSD and aphasia. Additionally alongside for the journey are Laurence Fishburne’s Jim Goldenrod, the longtime trucker who organized this mission, and Amber Midthunder’s Tantoo, a troublemaking Native girl who’s additionally a daring driver. (Coincidentally, her brother is among the many males trapped within the mine, so This Time, It’s Private.) Tagging alongside is a metropolis slicker company actuary who might have nefarious intent (Benjamin Walker, the one one who acknowledges this B-movie material for what it’s).
Tantoo helpfully lays out the difficult balancing act the truckers should strike in attempting to traverse this hazardous stretch—in April, of all months. They will go too sluggish or too quick as they carry their heavy gear. They need to look out for strain waves forward of them and cracks behind them, obstacles that give a few legitimately tense moments right here. However whereas that exposition is essential, too typically characters stand around explaining issues to one another in “The Ice Road.” And but, they continue to be barely developed and unengaging. Mike yelling “Kiss my Irish ass!” to a physician attempting to prescribe opioids to his brother is a given, not a revelation. Hensleigh bounces backward and forwards between the drivers and the miners, however, the individuals we’re speculated to care about as they gasp for breath are basically interchangeable, and it’s onerous to inform who’s who because it’s so darkish in there.
No matter what comes to their approach on this arduous journey, Neeson stays the scowling straight man. He’s afforded few alternatives to flash any form of charisma or menace, though he does get to throw some punches by the top. And whereas we perceive work is scarce for his character as a result of he’s consumed with the challenges of caring for his brother, it’s onerous to think about how he ended up on this probably lethal, pain-in-the-ass job within the first place.
And someplace, amid the cracking of bullets and the generically insistent rating, there’s a message about company greed and the exploitation of Place of birth. However you’ll in all probability wish to carry on truckin’.