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The Grey (2011)
Reviewed on 2012 May 31
I’m giving this thing one morsel, and I’m going to do a brief synopsis along with a spoiler-laden list of why the thing didn’t work for me. The synopsis is for people who still want to Redbox® it; the review is for people who want to have a good laugh and catch something else.
The synopsis: Ottway (Liam Neeson) is amongst a bunch of other tough guys in Alaska; an oil worker who seems to prefer quietly getting drunk to deaden some pain, rather than party and fight with the other roughnecks. They’re soon on their way home for a break, but the plane crashes, stranding Ottway and seven other men in the middle of a snowy wild that is only populated by wolves. Trying to keep from freezing and scaring up food until they’re rescued would be miserable enough, but no. There are tons of snarling, drooling, glowing-eyed wolves out there, in the dark, and they’re furious at the intrusion by these men.
Stop here if you still want to see this.
The acting was good; the problem was the script and the direction. I know people say wolves are generally timid around humans unless you mess with them, but the thought of Liam Darkman Schindler Don’t-Mess-With-my-Daughter Neeson fighting a bunch of crazed wolves was too irresistible to let that detail ruin it for me. I wanted action. Instead, I got a lot of shaky camera, guys being picked off predictably, trudging through snow, and not enough wolf for my buck. I kind of knew who would get it and when, but worse, I knew Liam would be the last man standing. At one point the few survivors who hadn’t yet been et by wolves or frozen or just died decide to take a wolf, put him on a spit, and make Wolf McNuggets. Fair enough, but then one of roughnecks saws the head off the thing and throws it into the ring of a zillion wolves lurking around their campfire, taunting them. Say it with me: This. Will. Not. End. Well.
After that, they keep getting picked off, one by one, and you can see that coming a mile away too, either becoming wolf chow or succumbing to the elements, leaving only Ottway (and any sense of realism or suspense behind). The finale was Ottway, squaring off with the alpha wolf, broken airplane bottles of booze strapped to his hands like brass knuckles. I love Liam Neeson, and his work here is the usual awesomeness he brings to any project. I’m just saying that when you take a man with Neeson’s looks and acting talents, and that little snarky voice in your head comes up with something LOLCats would do:
“RAWWR! Eat DIS, WUFF!”
Something is really wrong. It was just a huge disappointment to me.