WAs I shrugged through the Netflix production line, the movie B The Ice Road, I wondered, perhaps worried, how much Liam Neeson, at the age of 69, was sleeping these days. In the last 12 months alone, he has directed two other fast-paced action films (in addition to a shooting drama with blanks), kicking 0ff a decade that was preceded by his most ubiquitous yet (in the 2010s he starred in a staggering 33 movies). His action hero Schtick, who became a reliable source of income after the success of Taken in 2008, has become so repetitive that one imagines him moving from set to set dragging his rifle, wearing the same costume, each role. boringly interchangeable.
While The Ice Road may not be as easy to cut and paste as some of the others (there’s less revenge, skill roster, and naming than usual), it’s still familiar enough that it looks like we’ve seen him do. exactly this before. The vision of a grizzled Neeson battling snowy extremes is reminiscent of both Joe Carnahan’s surprisingly poignant survival thriller The Gray and 2019’s dark and comedic Cold Pursuit, films that possess a personality it lacks. Neeson plays Mike (though his character is so devoid of anything remotely distinguishable that he might as well be called Man), an icy road driver who sees an opportunity to make money when a daring mission needs last minute riggers. Along with his brother, Mike joins a small team on their way to save a group of miners trapped underground, but the dangerous nature of the journey means they may not make it home.
At the beginning of the movie we are informed that icy road drivers are tasked with an unimaginably stressful job, having to haul vehicles weighing around 65,000 pounds over frozen lakes and oceans of ice less than 30 inches thick, a profession with a high mortality rate. . It’s a clever setting for a thriller, the danger of death is only a few steps away, but the writer and director, Jonathan Hensleigh (whose writing credits range from Jumanji to Armageddon), is unable to get enough tension out of it (less than a handful of gasps), choosing instead to drown out his movie with a hackneyed plot filled with expired ingredients. Despite not being made directly for the streamer (it was acquired a year after production ended), it has that drab Netflix monotony, which looks all the way like a TV movie that was released a couple of decades ago, until the ridiculously shoddy CGI, a surprisingly cheap entry into Neeson’s generally fancier resume.
The crumbling conspiracy (due to course There’s a Conspiracy) is as bland as the actors chosen to unravel it, with only fleeting glimpses of Laurence Fishburne and David Fincher’s favorite Holt McCallany to keep Neeson company among the boring daytime gamers on television. Hensleigh makes some initial attempts to make this Liam Neeson movie we need now with references to the opioid epidemic as well as the indigenous battle for land, but they soon fade and the movie quickly becomes as routine as any action actor. 80s, the kind of crap that Dolph Lundgren would have starred in, a waste of Neeson’s talent. His lucrative career deviating often offers some gem (he had fun on Non-Stop and his performance on The Gray was quite remarkable) but it is mostly stodge, the kind of movies that offer you a solid stream of paychecks but give us very little in return.
Sleepwalking down The Ice Road. The public may be more inclined to simply sleep.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism