The Grey has a lot of ingredients that work in its favor.
We get Liam Neeson in his newfound ”action hero” role, a bunch of wolves, men bonding in extreme conditions and an interesting premise, but does it work together to form a good movie?
The short answer is yes, but it doesn’t come without its flaws.
We meet Ottway (played by Liam Neeson), a lone gunman as ever there was one, who protects workers from a company in Alaska. On the flight back home, the plane crashes and soon afterwards we find the remaining 7 men who survived (including Ottway) fighting for survival.
To complicate things further they get stalked by a large group of wolves who want nothing else but to get rid of their unwanted visitors.
So its man against nature, or more specificly: Liam Neeson against nature, ever since he made ”Taken” in 2008, Liam Neeson has a tough guy image. He deserves one as well, mr. Neeson is a gifted actor and his ability to play a vulnerable but hardened man makes him quite unique amongst the likes of ”The Rock” or ”Bruce Willis”.
The story lends him the opportunity to use this ability as well, as Ottway is a rather mysterious and broken individual.
Aside from the inevitable and obviously CGI wolves action we get to see, the movie never really decides what it wants to be. One part man against nature, one part action movie, one part drama and one part of flat dialogue make this a mixed bag. When it works, it works great and there are more than 3 things to love about this film.
Directed by Joe Carnahan (who made the great movie Narc) we get some very striking imagery, in accordance to the theme of the movie its grainy, sometimes unfocussed, and it compliments the story on every level. On top of that the aforementioned CGI wolves are hit or miss in some parts. Every movie that carries a ”monster” in it has a few cliche’s to overcome and ”The Grey” fails to best all of them.
We get the obligatory catchphrase thats also featured on the poster: ”Live and die on this day”, and the obvious comparisons between the wolves’ alpha leader and Ottway as the humans leader. And lets be honest, when 8 wolves the size of an oversized horse are hunting your ass, do you really go out for a pee in the dead of night? No, no you don’t.
Never the less, its better than most action flicks that hit cinema’s these days, and its not afraid to tell us a story with some pretty good developed characters.
And if you didn’t like the ending, which I wont comment on here, watch the scene after the credits.