The Ice Road

The Ice Road
Running time:108 minutes
Director:Jonathan Hensleigh
Release date:25 june 2021
A diamond mine collapses in Canada's far north, trapping nearly thirty miners. To lead a dangerous rescue mission, Jim Goldenrod hires Mike McCann, an experienced truck driver. They will lead a convoy through the ice road, a frozen and unstable ocean that covers the almost 500 km of Lake Winnipeg. In addition to bad weather and mechanical damage, a series of mysterious attacks prove that someone has a vested interest in this rescue.

Mulder's Review

A good screenwriter is not necessarily a good director and Jonathan Hensleigh is the perfect example. After having written the scripts of excellent blockbusters like Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Jumanji (1995), Rock (1996), Wings of Hell (Con Air) (1997), Amrageddon (1998), 60 Seconds (Gone in Sixty Seconds) (2000), Next (200) and recently Gemini Man (2019), the films he himself wrote and directed did not meet the same success whether it is The Punisher (2004), Welcome to the jungle (2007), Bulletproof gangster ((Kill the Irishman) (2011). Unfortunately The Ice Road follows the same road and except for some countries like France has been directly distributed on streaming platforms like Netflix (for the United States) and Amazon Prime Video (England). 

However, the successful trailer of The Ice Road really made us want to discover this film in which we find Liam Neeson always so imposing despite films that lack for the most recent ones really ambition and are content to be simple B series more or less convincing. There was also, however, with the original and effective scenario to propose here a real cinematographic experience in the line of Mad Max Fury Road (2015), the ice replacing the desert but the crossing remaining just as dangerous. Unfortunately, the director and screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh does not manage to give enough thickness to his characters and especially to maintain a real rhythm and marked by ambitious scenes.

The story begins after the collapse of an isolated diamond mine in the Canadian Far North. In an attempt to save the miners as quickly as possible before they run out of air, an ice truck driver Mike McCann (Liam Neeson) and his brother Gurty, an Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD, decide to join a convoy to save the 26 miners. They will have to carry out a dangerous mission of impossible rescue and travel over a frozen ocean and various other obstacles.  Confronted with melting water and a huge storm, they will quickly understand that some people will do everything to make their mission fail. 

There was a way here to make a muscular action movie in which Liam Neeson had to face again a hostile environment as it was the case in The Grey (2012). However, screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh makes the wrong decision to focus his story on the malfeasance of a company willing to do anything to see its employees die, including hiring real killers.  The film would have benefited from staying focused on this obstacle course and giving the character of Mike McCann more depth and not just making him the personification of the modern cowboy capable of facing the worst obstacles and getting away unscathed all the time. 

The special effects would have been better worked out and would have allowed a greater immersion. The ice road however can be watched especially since it is offered without extra cost on Amazon Prime in England and Netflix in the United States while in France you will have to pay your ticket to discover this film in the cinema. A broadcast on Netflix in France would have been a better strategic choice to meet a wider audience.

The Ice Road
Written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh
Produced by Bart Rosenblatt, Shivani Rawat
Starring Liam Neeson, Benjamin Walker, Amber Midthunder, Marcus Thomas, Holt McCallany, Martin Sensmeier, Matt McCoy, Matt Salinger,Laurence Fishburne
Cinematography :Tom Stern
Edited by Douglas Crise
Music by Max Aruj
Production companies : CODE Entertainment, ShivHans Pictures, The Solution Entertainment Group, Envision Media Arts, Aperture Media Partners, Manitoba Film & Music
Distributed by Netflix (United States), Metropolitan FilmExport (France), Amazon Prime video (United Kingdom)
Release date : June 25, 2021 (United States), August 4, 2021 (France)
Running time : 108 minutes

Viewed on June 25, 2021 on Netflix

Mulder's Mark: