Ice in the Summertime

 The Ice Road
Stars: Liam Neeson, Benjamin Walker, Amber Midthunder, Marcus Thomas, Holt McCallany, Martin Sensmeier, Laurence Fishburne, Matt McCoy and Matt Salinger.
Director/Scriptwriter: Jonathan Hensleigh
Composer: Max Aruj
Cinematography: Tom Stern
Envision Media Arts/Manitoba Film & Music/Netflix
Rating: PG 13 for violence 
Running Length: 110 Minutes 

Right on schedule comes a new Liam Neeson film. If you have ever watched "Ice Road Truckers," , this type of driving is part of this film. Manuvering a big rig on ice with a special package on board is part of the plot.  I saw “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift,” with cars swerving downhill and on streets, This what people do every winter in the North Country on ice. At the same time as the release of "The Ice Road," is action star Vin Diesel's latest film in the auto racing genre, "F9." You have your choice of summer films, Then  I saw the name "Tantoo" on the cast list. Hoping it was Canadian actress Tantoo Cardinal, but not to be, the character's name here is "Tantoo," and Amber Midthunder is the actress. 

As the story goes, there is a mine explosion with trapped miners.  Over twenty of them, and they are counting the hours and watching breathing levels.  In the meantime, bringing rescue equipment are Mike (Neeson) and his brother, Gurdy (Marcus Thomas.) Gurdy has PTSI and this causes problems along the way. Jim (Fishburne) has another truck and away they go with passengers, Varnay (Walker) who is an insurance adjuster and Tantoo (Midthunder) who has a brother trapped in the mine. As you can expect, there are dangers along the way with an avalanche, massive ice cracks, questionable bridges, the bad guys who somehow seem to appear all the time, trying not to be bitten by Gurdy's pet rat and working against the clock and vanishing air supply in the mine. It is one thing to drive an 18-wheeler down an Interstate and stay in one lane, it is another to drive on ice and have the trailer have a mind of it’s own. Special effects are good.  

What makes "The Ice Road" interesting, though, is the choice of music put together by composer Max Aruj. Neeson's character likes country music, and you can recognize "All I Do Is Drive" by Jason Isbell, "I'm Movin' On" by Miranda Lambert and "Six Days on the Road" by The Cadillac Three.  

Then, there is acting, which is basic. Perhaps, filming in the north country was too cold for them.  Liam Neeson is stoic and still capable of action sequences, Midthunder is OK as the feisty woman in the cast, Fishburne isn't there that much, Marcus Thomas is OK, and that leaves the villain, Benjamin Walker, who gives "insurance" another meaning. So, all in all, "The Cold Run" gives the audience Liam Neeson, big rig trucks doing dangerous things and only a few months to wait until the next Liam Neeson film.  


Copyright 2021 Marie Asner