Liam Neeson and a bunch of roughneck oil riggers go down in a plane crash in the frozen Alaska wilderness in "The Grey."
Neeson plays John Ottway, a loner and the alpha dog, of sorts, among the surviving men of the crash. They are forced to stay together to battle the elements and a pack of wolves, set on making them the next meal. A supporting cast includes Dallas Roberts as the smart sensitive guy, Dermot Mulroney as the sad dad missing his kid, and Frank Grillo as the Latino hothead. They face frostbite, wolf bite, drowning, and falling from great heights. Harsh outcomes for both man and beast.
In the middle of this life and death situation there's time for conversation among the men. We get to know their back story and learn that they are not simply a group of victims. Neeson's Ottway character is of course the most complex. On the brink of suicide just before the crash he now clings fiercely to life itself.
"The Grey" is a delightful surprise. Director Joe Carnahan does a good job of not tipping his hand about who's living and who's dying. The wolves were, at times, a bit over the top with the computer-generated imagery look, but, overall not a bad film.
So the flick-o-meter gives "The Grey" three out of five.
It's a decent adventure tale. It seemed to me to be a bit too digitally enhanced. A CGI snowstorm is OK, but giant hulking CGI wolves? Not so much.
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About this column: About this column: Brett Martin was the entertainment reporter and Road Warrior for Fox 5 and Good Day Atlanta for many years (1999-2007). Brett continues to be a film critic and a member of the BFCA (Broadcast Film Critics Association). He has personally interviewed nearly every major movie star and academy award winning actor and actress over the past two decades. You can catch all his reviews and find out more about Brett on his two Web sites. His movie reviews can be seen at www.flickedup.com. His video production business, which specializes in online commercials, can be seen at www.brettervideo.com. If you have any specific questions contact Brett through his e-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on Facebook www.facebook.com/brettervideo. You can also follow him on Twitter at @imbrettmartin.