The Ice Road


When a diamond mine methane explosion in northern Manitoba traps several miners deep underground, it’s up to a trio of “ice road truckers” to rush a massive well-capping device there to rescue them. So named because the winter route there crosses frozen Lake Winnipeg. It’s a thing. Problem is, it’s April, and the ice is not as thick as one would like.

The drivers of the three big, heavy rigs, redundant for safety reasons, are Liam Neeson and his PTSD-damaged veteran brother: Laurence Fishburne, for the posters; and Amber Midthunder, as a tough native Canadian chick.  Because it’s a movie. Also along is an actuary for the corporation that owns the mine. Now, I don’t do spoilers, but if you can’t guess who the bad guy is going to be, you don’t go to enough B-movies.

Things go bad almost immediately, after which Liam must deal with a string of crises, catastrophes and perils that only a hack screenwriter could think up. In fact, the only comic relief is the film’s sheer, overcomplicated you-gotta-be-kidding-me relentlessness. For a while I thought it was a satire.

Neeson has of late specialized in lending a scowling dignity to a variety of awful films. That’s okay; guy’s gotta eat. But for the sake of his fans at least, he could aim a bit higher. Non-stop action is one thing, but when it results in derisive laughter, it kind of defeats its purpose. (109 min)