As a patented Liam Neeson thriller, The Ice Road is exactly what you'd expect

·3-min read

The Ice Road explores a premise that feels as if it should have been explored years ago. Ice trucking. For those familiar with American reality TV, you'll know there's already a show about this very thing: Ice Road Truckers.

The fictional thriller, out on Amazon Prime Video in the UK and Netflix elsewhere, expands on the idea of ice trucking as a highly dangerous job (which it is) by adding sabotage, and a ticking clock against which these ice truckers must drive.

The synopsis reads: "After a remote diamond mine collapses in the far northern regions of Canada, an ice driver leads an implausible rescue mission over a frozen ocean to save the lives of trapped miners despite thawing waters and a threat they never see coming."

There's not much more to the plot than the synopsis reveals, but that's okay because when you sit down to watch a Liam Neeson thriller, you basically know what you're in for. And on that premise, The Ice Road delivers.

Photo credit: Signature Entertainment - Netflix
Photo credit: Signature Entertainment - Netflix

Neeson stars as Mike, a down-on-his-luck trucker who cares for his war-veteran brother Gurty (Marcus Thomas) who suffers from Aphasia. Having recently been fired, he takes on a job with Laurence Fishburne's Goldenrod to deliver pipe to the stranded miners.

They're joined by Tantoo (Amber Midthunder) an ice trucker-turned-petty criminal, and the three set out on the dangerous road to save the miners. Despite predictable pitfalls – mainly, the ice, The Ice Road somehow manages to ratchet up suspense and tension.

You may see all the threats coming, but that doesn't make them less of a rollercoaster to watch. It's the kind of thriller that's trashy and fun, doesn't require too much intellectualising or analysis, which is rare and sometimes just what you want; a true pop-corn guzzler if there ever was one.

Photo credit: Signature Entertainment - Netflix
Photo credit: Signature Entertainment - Netflix

Its relatively short runtime also helps, and though there seems to be a new precarious situation every 15 minutes, you also get the feeling that this must be what it's like to do a job as dangerous as driving huge lorries across roads made of ice.

No, the average driver is likely not also fighting against conspirators hellbent on murder, but that doesn't make the movie less enjoyable.

In a departure for Neeson, there's no murdered wife, or girlfriend, or daughter that spurs him on to REVENGE. It's a welcome break from the wealth of films that use the death of women to spur their leads on (see every Taken movie ever, and the recent Without Remorse for starters) – it's a device called fridging, ironically not deployed in The Ice Road.

Photo credit: Signature Entertainment - Netflix
Photo credit: Signature Entertainment - Netflix

Is it boring in spots? Yes. Is it totally unbelievable? Yes and no. Given what we know about corporate greed and corruption in politics, as well as the neglect of labourers in jobs like mining and truck driving, it's not out of the realm of disbelief that not everyone involved in a rescue mission wants it to succeed.

And yet, that's a generous read of The Ice Road. Because at the end of the day, The Ice Road is a thriller about driving trucks on the ice – transformers without the bloated morals or, you know, transforming. It's a perfectly acceptable way to spend a rainy afternoon or a lazy Sunday morning.

The Ice Road is now available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

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