The Ice Road offers a nice change of pace and thrills for action star Liam Neeson in this solid B movie now streaming on Netflix.
Widows and Ordinary Love aside, it feels like a lot of Liam Neeson films of late are Taken or something not far from the formula. That’s why this film, which offers no shortage of thrills, is such a breath of fresh air. Sure, Netflix keeps churning films out but this one keeps audiences engaged. I’ll be honest. When I first heard that Netflix was lifting the embargo on release day, it gave me pause to be concerned. Thankfully, these concerns were nothing to worry about.
Urgency is the mission when the Katka Diamond Mine collapses in Manitoba. The minors only have thirty hours of oxygen so whatever the plan is, it must come together quickly. This plan, however, requires experience when it comes to traveling the ice road. It won’t be an easy mission and there’s no saying what will happen once they get on the ice. Two of the truckers are the McCann brothers, Mike (Liam Neeson) and Gurty (Marcus Thomas). Gurty recently lost his job as a mechanic due to having aphasia. Jim Goldenrod (Laurence Fishburne) also recruits Tantoo (Amber Midthunder). She may be an expert on traveling the road but this one’s personal: her brother is trapped.
The ice road is a man-made road of maybe 30 inches of ice or less. One can only imagine the risks involved when you’re driving eighteen-wheelers. Nevermind the fact that they’re also bringing a tractor full of equipment that they needed yesterday. You name it, it’ll happen. Engines stall, the ice cracks, and no shortage of pressure waves are involved. And there’s no shortage of outside threats wanting to prevent them from doing the job. Why does this not surprise me?
Writer-director Jonathan Hensleigh is no stranger to action films. He wrote or co-wrote a number of Michael Bay movies as well as Jumanji, too. Anyway, Hensleigh is inspired by a mixture of The Wages of Fear and Of Mice and Men. You can certainly see the inspiration from the former when it comes to doing the impossible. He also puts in the research, too.
Neeson is no stranger to action thrillers. However, there’s something different about watching him in action in this film. No matter the budget, the actor still puts everything into the performance. There’s no green screen in this film either. That’s the real Lake Winnipeg that they’re driving on. It brings another layer of authenticity as well as thrills to the action. G-d forbid something happen! I must say that there’s really one scene where you truly fear for their health. Yes, it’s a film but we’re talking about very cold water below the ice.
Things may get icy but The Ice Road offers no shortage of thrills in this desperate attempt to save lives.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Jonathan Hensleigh
CAST: Liam Neeson, Marcus Thomas, Amber Midthunder, Benjamin Walker, Matt McCoy, Holt McCallany, Martin Sensmeier, Matt Salinger, and Laurence Fishburne