Set in Canada, the film begins with a group of miners working underground. An explosion occurs, trapping over twenty men underground. Without air supply, it’s only a matter of time until the men run out of oxygen and die. With the clock ticking, an emergency rescue team now needs to be assembled. Leading the team is Jim (Laurance Fishburne), whose duty is to recruit a small group of skilled and experienced truck drivers. If the drivers can make it in time, these drivers will be required to deliver a key component needed to get the men out of mines!
It’s not long until Mike (Liam Neeson) and his brother Gurty (Marcus Thomas), who both recently lost their job, get a text message about this new opportunity. A large sum of cash is the reward if they are successful and they accept. Soon a team consisting of three trucks and five people take off for a dangerous fast-paced drive on the ice road to make an urgent delivery in under thirty hours.
The concept of The Ice Road is fun, and it feels very familiar to films like Daylight and Vertical Limit. As you might expect, our leads don’t just have a simple drive and easy journey. They encounter many challenges and difficulties along the way. I found this film to be highly predictable when it comes to certain character deaths and plot twists.
The dialogue is completely hit and miss, especially from the lead played by Liam Neeson. At times the dialogue is fitting and well delivered, and then other times, spoken words come across as highly unfitting or even childish. The musical score is the same thing again. Some moments feel impacting, and at other times the score is highly odd and becomes more of a distraction with music that doesn’t fit what’s on-screen.
The action sequences here have their moments but movie lovers won’t be finding Liam Neeson throwing many punches or kicks in the feature. Most of the action comes from the big trucks and some moments where characters wrestle or briefly fight. Fights can feel crammed as they are in close quarters, and other moments of action included major errors that were distracting, and I was surprised they made the final cut of the film. Thanks to the repeated advertising of Kenworth Trucks, the blockbuster film can feel like the movie was made purely to be a promotional advertisement.
Overall, Liam Neeson fans will generally know what to expect here. While some moments are pleasing with action from the big trucks, the concept is familiar yet still entertaining. The Ice Road quickly melts into something forgettable and includes some childishly cringe-worthy dialogue and a predictable plot. The film, at times, also feels like a lengthy advertisement for Kenworth trucks and the repeated use of this brand name feels forced. In the end, there are some moments I enjoyed here, and there are some I’ve already forgotten about. The Ice Road (2021) is Available in Australian Cinemas from August 12th!