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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Aug 9, 2021



AT 69, LIAM NEESON is definitely the busiest geriatric action star since he hit it big in “Taken” in 2008, making two to three films a year. 

This year, we already reviewed his “The Marksman”, and now comes his new Netflix movie, “The Ice Road”, which must have been inspired by a docu we saw on the History Channels called “Ice Road Truckers”. 

He plays Mike, a truck driver who works for a trucking company with his brother, Gurty (Marcus Thomas), a veteran from Iraq who has aphasia, an impairment of the brain, so some folks consider him a retardate. 

When a fellow driver insults Gurty, Mike punches him and he and his brother are both fired.

In a mine in Manitoba up in the northern part of Canada, an explosion traps more than 20 miners inside and the mining company has to hire truck drivers who’d be willing to take a dangerous trip over frozen lakes called Ice Road during winter. 

They will deliver a component called wellhead that will help save the miners from being asphyxiated inside the mine. 

Mike and Gurty apply and they are both hired by the head driver, Jim Goldenrod (Laurence Fishburne.) This is actually a dangerous mission since the frozen lakes are already thawing by then and the ice road is starting to get soft. 

Goldenrod drives one truck while Mike drives the second one. Another driver, a native woman named Tantoo (Amber Midthunder), is hired for the third truck. Riding with her is an insurance man working with the company that owns the mine, Varnay (Benjamin Walker).

All three trucks carry one wellhead each. On the ice road, Goldenrod’s truck conks out and while he’s trying to repair it, the ice where his truck is parked breaks and slowly sinks into the icy waters, along with him. His companions cannot save him. 

They have to scamper away hurriedly before the ice on that part of the road breaks any further.

Mike accuses Tantoo of attempting to sabotage their mission but she says she couldn’t do that as she has a brother among the trapped miners. They tie her up. 

But it turns out she is not really the villain but Varnay who is in connivance with the bosses of the mining company. He locks up Mike and Gurty in their truck then tries to blow it up with dynamite. But Mike and Gurty manage to escape and threw away the explosives before it blows them up.

More complications crop up for Mike and it looks like Varnay and his bosses will triumph in their evil schemes against the truck drivers and also the trapped miners, some of whom even conspired with them. 

Armed men of the company pursue Mike and Gurty and try to kill them both. They also have to contend with a collapsing bridge and an avalanche caused by Varnay.

“The Ice Road” is a highly entertaining popcorn flick that starts as a conspiracy among big businessmen and offers gripping action when it turns to a story of survival and a revenge thriller when Mike goes on rampage to make the villains pay for the death of some of the characters. 

As a Liam Neeson action flick, it does not disappoint since the action set pieces are quite nicely executed and Neeson fans will surely root for him as the gritty, working class hero. 

His durability as an action star seems to get more remarkable as the years go by. He might be older now but he still gets the job done and is the main reason to watch this movie.

He returns to sub zero temperatures in this flick, just like in his past films that were also set in wintry surroundings, “The Grey” set in Alaska and “Cold Pursuit” set in a ski resort in Colorado. 

It shows that there is still plenty of fire in him, even if these films are set in ice-cold environments.

He is well supported by Amber as Tantoo, Marshall as the mentally impaired Gurty who puts the heart in the story, and by Walker as the obnoxious villain who just won’t stay down. 

Each time you’d think he’s been licked by Liam, he continues to rise up again to wreak more havoc on Mike and company, making the film an above-average thrill ride. 

As the challenges to Mike and company pile up, they also have to race against time to save the miners and the ticking clock element surely adds up to the tension.