Formulaic adventure saved largely by Liam Neeson.
The Ice Road
Liam’s at it again, an aging man kicking butt in formulaic action films that depend almost wholly on his charisma. At least, Netflix’s The Ice Road has some snow-capped Canadian mountains, supposedly in Manitoba, to ease the boredom of just another thriller with a remarkable old guy more agile than you would expect and stronger than men half his age.
Trucker Mike (Neeson) needs the work that driving a heavy-duty Kenworth can provide. With a mine accident and miners only a few hours from losing oxygen, Mike and his PTSD brother Gurty (Marcus Thomas) volunteer to drive rescue equipment to the mine. A healthy reward that would help them buy one of those Kenworths is inducement enough.
Only problem is the Ice Road, a real-life strip on which you could spin right to death or fall through with equal end. Mike engages in fisticuffs and spinning trailers with multiple bad boys who want him to fail because of some logic that makes disaster a benefit for the company.
The truck fights are disappointing, less impressive than CGI and dexterous cameras have made us accustomed to lately. Mike’s defense of his brother, who is repeatedly harassed, is hardly the stuff of Steinbeck, or even F9.
Yet if you have a couple of hours to veg out or test different martinis, Netflix offers no surprises with The Ice Road except that Neeson, once a promising young actor, descends further into pop-cult silliness. Yet, he’s fun to watch, and I’ll bet his bank book is even more fun.
The Ice Road
Director: Jonathan Hensleigh (The Punisher)
Cast: Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List), Laurence Fishburne (Apocalypse Now)
Run Time: 1h 43m
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com