Somehow no matter how terrible his last movie was, I would still not hesitate to watch the latest Liam Neeson movie whenever it comes out. Call it brand loyalty if you may like but Liam Neeson has what I call star power and a high degree of likeability. That makes him immune to any negative qualities that his films may have. It is never his fault … The Ice Road is Liam’s latest thriller. He seems to be very consistent and comes up with an average one one movie every six months. His last two movies “The Marksman” and “Honest Thief”, to be honest, missed the mark and we were beginning to see an unsettling trend in his new films. Low on action, low on concept, and generally low on everything. Hence, I approached The Ice Road with a somewhat low expectation.
Happily, The Ice Road fares much better than his recent outings. Liam’s character here is not too far a stretch from all the characters he is used to play. You know the type .. quiet loner with a family tragedy, but who is very good in what he does. Here he plays an expert big rig driver who has a mentally challenged brother who also somehow happens to be an expert mechanic despite his inabilities. They join a team of drivers rushing against time to deliver some heavy oil well equipments required to save some miners trapped in a collapsed mine. The risk is to drive the heavy vehicles across frozen stretches of water. To make things more challenging the plot throws in some sabotage to prevent the delivery from reaching their destination.
The plot is quite unbelievable especially the villains which are so resourceful and persistent here, they are more at home as villains in a James Bond movie than in a small actioner such as this. But no matter, once you accept some level of lack of logic in the storyline, you can sit back and enjoy the icy action. I must say that the images of trucks driving along frozen water is not something I have seen before especially in those inevitable scenes when things don’t go well and the road begins to crack and open up!! The race against time with the said persistency of the bad guys is also very well executed and provides lots of good stunts and action opportunities. Even though we know Liam will survive through everything, the endless obstacles he needs to face along the way is still gripping.
Overall I feel much of the film’s success in overcoming its shortcomings and still come across as a decent piece of entertainment is attributed to the films’ writer, director Jonathan Hensleigh who has been doing more work as a script writer than as director. Liam is his usual self and delivers as usual. The Ice Road has restored some level of confidence back to Liam’s new ventures and I look forward to what he has in store for us next.