The Reel Review
Liam Neeson stars in this Netflix action thriller about a big rig ice driver who must lead a near-impossible rescue mission over a frozen sea to rescue workers trapped in a collapsed diamond mine in far northern Canada. Not only do they face falling through the ice, but there is also a hidden threat they hadn’t anticipated.
The screenplay from writer/director Jonathan Hensleigh is predictable and corny, with hokey low budget CGI explosions more suited to a bad SyFy film. (At least the practical effects look legit.) But from having engine trouble on unstable ice to running out of gas on an uphill climb, there’s only so much realistic drama to be had with big rigs on the ice road. So cue the manufactured drama – creaky bridges, avalanches and dynamite – oh, and Neeson doing some hand-to-hand combat with the bad guys.
As mindless action thrillers go, The Ice Road is an adequate, rainy Saturday afternoon matinee. Nevermind that there are major continuity problems – real life ice truckers will go bonkers watching Kenworth W990 and T680 rigs doubling for one another in crash scenes. At least the score is solid and the visuals of Manitoba are pretty cool. The Ice Road is quickly forgettable but entertaining enough if you have an hour and a half to kill.
• This is the first film directed by Jonathan Hensleigh in a decade, following 2011’s Kill the Irishman.
• The Ice Road was filmed in and around Winnipeg, Canada.
• Amber Midthunder (the TV series Roswell, New Mexico and Legion), who plays Tantoo, also appeared in Liam Neeson’s prior film The Marksman, playing the gas station attendant who gives his character the roadmap for free.