Liam Neeson plays Ottway - a sniper hired to protect Alaskan oil
workers from the various wolves that surround their base camp. Of
course, a heavy snowstorm quickly is moving in, which forces them to
evacuate. During the flight, the plane suffers some sort of malfunction
and crashes. Now, abandoned in the middle of nowhere, the survivors
have to start making their way south to civilization, but find
themselves outnumbered by hungry hungry wolves.
Who will survive and who will be eaten?
Who will become wolfy chow?
I expect more out of Neeson. Maybe all of this felt more intriguing
while he was reading the script, but I fear it was more intriguing when
he was reading his pay check on the way to the bank.
Director/co-writer Joe Carnahan and co-writer Ian Mackenzie Jeffers
fill the movie with plenty of clichés, but none of the
compelling dialogue and backstory that would make The Grey a
thriller about survival and the human desire to keep fighting in the
face of adversity. We should be rooting for these guys to survive, not
rooting for the wolves to eat them.
Carnahan gives us some flashes of what we want to see in The Grey,
not nearly enough. Ottway has a whole history to explain who he is and
his current physical and emotional state, but that never becomes
important enough to drive the apparent theme of human nature's desire
to survive in the face of horrible conditions and probably death.
We have mostly boring dialogue between the characters as we watch the
guy with a kid hoping to be with her, and the guy who is a better fit
for jail than society trying to show how tough he is, and so forth and
so on. Each one is taken down one after the other as we hope to see
Neeson take on the wolves using a very particular set of skills, but
even that doesn't live up to our expectations.
Worst of all, the wolves look phony. If you want the audience to get
all scared, the predators need to be more ferocious than Scooby Doo.
Grey is rated R for violence/disturbing content including bloody
images, and for pervasive language.