Review: The Ice Road

Liam Neeson stars as Grumpy Old Man #812 in The Ice Road, a race against time style thriller that sees a group ice road truckers haul ass across the Canadian wilderness to deliver crucial supplies needed to aid in the recue effort of trapped miners after a cave in at a diamond mine.

In theory the film sounds like it should be a recipe for greatness but in reality it kind of misses the mark. While not a terrible film by any stretch, after the first 40mins or so the film starts to fizzle out and becomes just another throw away Liam Neeson action film and at this point I’m starting get a little tired of the old man kicking ass action trope that Neeson himself kicked off with Taken back in 2008.

However, with The Ice Road, I feel the film had a good enough premise they didn’t need shoehorn in the additional action beats and I personally thing it ended up hindering what could have been something really great. I think the film could have been a very serviceable and tense watch if it was left with the race against time, man vs. nature aspect of the film set up in the opening act but when the action elements and talk of sabotage start to set in it falls flat and undoes everything that made the film so good up until that point.

Some of the early scenes driving across the ice road had me on the edge of my seat and I really wish the film kept up that level of tension and a lot of the practical effects look wonderful in the film and the snowy landscapes are visually stunning however, some of the CGI is pretty bad and has that mid 2000’s “made for TV” feel to them which in this day and age is an issue I’m finding harder and harder to forgive.

The performances from heavy hitters like Liam Neeson and Laurence Fishburne help give the opening of the film some much needed weight with the stakes being clearly set from the outset. The supporting cast does a pretty good job as well but the standout performance of the film for me is that of Amber Midthunder, who until this film I had never seen before. Personally, I think she done a cracking job here given the limited material she had to work with.

I expected way more from The Ice Road than what I got here. The trailer looked really good so well done to the marking team for that one but in the end The Ice Road is just another mediocre action film being released on streaming services around the world and one you’re probably not going to remember this time next week.

by Edward Laing