The Ice Road
In the frozen wastes of northern Canada, a mine collapse traps a group of miners deep underground. Their only hope is Liam Neeson in a big truck who, in a race against time, has to deliver a crucial piece of drilling equipment. But standing in his way, is the Ice Road.
This is the premise that opens the latest film from Jonathan Hensleigh, veteran of action-adventure cinema whose previous works include 2004’s The Punisher. It’s a good premise, with solidly defined stakes and an interesting setting, but it must be said that the result never quite lives up to it.
The greatest issue with The Ice Road is that it changes tack halfway through. Whilst the story is set up to be one of survival and man against nature, around an hour in it suddenly shifts in the direction of an action-adventure thriller, complete with moustache-twirling antagonists and high-speed snowmobile chases. It not only feels like a clunky way to add additional layers of drama to the plot, but also doesn’t ever come off as entirely convincing. It eventually results in an extended runtime that drags on and on through a series of unconvincing action sequences that do little, only managing to meander around in the conventions of the genre.
On the whole, the acting is fine and Neeson puts on a standardly gruff performance. The solid supporting cast, including Lawrence Fishbourne and Holt McCallany, are also very watchable, but every role is let down by a sub-par and, at times, incredibly cringeworthy, screenplay. There is little in terms of original characterisation and even some of the more interesting sub-plots, such as Neeson dealing with the realities of his brother’s aphasia, are let down by ham-fisted dialogue and forced character development.
There are visually striking moments and the frozen landscape does provide a nice backdrop for some of the more intense sequences, but it doesn’t manage to carry the film through the boring and clichéd scenes, of which there are a few.
One to watch for those who enjoy trucking and Liam Neeson, but otherwise not enough to pique interest.
The Ice Road is released on Amazon Prime Video on 25th June 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Ice Road here: