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Movie Review: 'The Grey' Is Gritty, Good, and Packs a Big Bite

A group of men stranded in the wilderness get hunted down by a pack of wolves. It's primal, it's primitive…it's Grey.

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. flickmeup@gmail.com or friend him on Facebook www.facebook.com/brettervideo. You can also follow him on Twitter at @imbrettmartin.

Nelson A. Petrie January 28, 2012 at 02:31 PM
What's wrong with you people? This movie needs to be boycotted by folks that truly care for conservation and wildlife! It is a most despicable film where the wolves are made out to be the villains. Gray wolves need to be conserved and protected. Sadly, this film far from conveys this message. The millions of dollars that were spent on this film which I'm sure were financed by those ranchers and farmers who have vested interests in eliminating the wolves should have been used for other purposes. I was a Liam Neeson fan till I heard about this film. Unfortunately after hearing of this film I've decided not to see any of his forthcoming films. I hope other Neeson fans decide likewise. Why has this film been allowed to be shown by the MPAA? Okay, freedom of expression but also people who wish to protect American wildlife must raise their voices loud and clear and tell others NOT to watch this movie. The wolves in America do not deserve such a fate. And it is also sickening and disgusting to know that wild wolves were actually shot and killed and used as props for the movie. I hope the producers do not lie at the end credits saying no animals were harmed in the making of this film. And where was the Hollywood humane association during the making of this film? Were they too purchased by the greedy profiteering ranchers and farmers? It won't be a bit surprised since America is far from being corruption free.
Nelson A. Petrie January 28, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I wish to know if the rancher's lobby and the farmers and all those interested in seeing the elimination of the Gray wolf purchased Mr Martin? He writes favorably for the film and gives three out of five on the flick-o-meter for this film. He should have simply boycotted and refused the review of this film. His ratings will also encourage others to watch this despicable anti-wolf film. And the computer imagery line that he writes is all hog wash. Real wolves were hunted and killed and their bodies used as props. Mr Neeson also ate the flesh of these wolves to bring in an atmosphere of realism in the film. Mr Martin, don't believe me ask Neeson himself.
Jacques January 28, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Man bites wolf review: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU0L3hCjiC0&feature=related
CDC January 28, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Do people realize that they gas wolf puppies up in Alaska just for the fun of it, since they think wolves eat all the Moose. Both people in Alaska, this movie, and the actors in this need to stop killing and fearing wolves and bears. They are evil self-serving idiots. DO NOT SPEND YOUR MONEY ON THIS MOVIE OR ANYTHING IN ALASKA!!! Read this and write the Feds: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-alaska-hunt-20120118,0,1078567.story
Terri January 29, 2012 at 12:26 AM
It was a good suspensful film. The wolves were digitized morons.

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