I knew going into the Netflix action thriller The Ice Road to expect nothing more than an action road B-movie. But Holy Shih Tzu, this is awful with every minute slowing dwindling away with bad dialogue and a bad script.
Set in northern Manitopa, a diamond mine collapses trapping about two dozen miners. Laurence Fishburne assembles truckers to drive big rigs hailing wellheads to drill the miners out.
Along for the job is Liam Neeson as Mike McCann, a recently fired trucker after someone insulted his brother, Gurty (Marcus Thomas), an Iraqi war veteran whose struggling with mental problems that never fully explained but used more as a plot device.
Also driving one of the rigs is Tantoo (Amber Midthunder) whose brother is one of the miners. Also in the mix is Benjamin Walker as Varnay, an actuary who’s not really an actuary.
If you’ve seen movies like this, you know where this Road is headed and it hits every cliche pothole along the way. I won’t include any spoilers but it’s pretty obvious who is the first to have a fatal accident and knowing that only one of the rigs is going to make it to the destination.
There isn’t much of a plot here, so writer-director Jonathan Hensleigh, also includes some scenes of the miners talking about how maybe they should go to extreme measures to conserve oxygen. Holt McCallany, most famous from the TV series Mindhunters, plays the most rational one of the miners, but most of them are one-dimensional and little is shown once the movie gets gearing up to the climax. There’s no suspense and there’s no really resolve to this subplot. One scene they’re arguing and the next, they’re all rescued.
Neeson has done these movies over and over for more than a decade and I really feel he’s turning into this generation’s Charles Bronson, which is a bad thing. But he’s obviously set the cruise control on this role and let’s the scenes just play out.
Walker seems to be the only one who realized he was in a B-movie and plays the role well. Matt McCoy plays the mine general manager who has an ulterior motive about seeing the rescue does NOT happen. Matt Salinger, who appeared in the horrid Captain America adaptation from the 1990s, also has a few scenes as the mine CEO.
But there’s nothing here. It’s as barren as the frozen ground. I have a friend who used to work as a producer on the show Ice Road Truckers which ran for many years because I’m guessing it was a great show. I never got around to watching it. I’d suggest maybe watching the show rather than this.
And Walker, himself, is a Julliard student, who grew up about twenty miles south of where I grew up so I like to see it when hometown boys do good, but maybe the paycheck amount was too much to pass up. I guess I can say the same for Fishburne and Neeson.
But this is one Road trip you’ve probably taken before and it was probably a lot better.