Monday, February 6, 2012

The Grey

Get out your broken bottles and pointed sticks, we're reviewing The Grey!
Can you tell that I like Liam Neeson's nose? What a shnaz!
The Grey is an intense and amazing movie. But if, like me, you came just to see Liam Neeson punch a CGI wolf in the face with broken bottles taped to his hand, well, you will be sadly disappointed.

Ottway is working security on an Alaskan drill, but he hasn't been doing so well psychologically since his wife left him.  It doesn't help that on his flight home, the plane crashes, killing most of the crew. Now Ottway must lead a small group of survivors to safety while they're mercilessly hunted by savage wolves!

This movie is intense. From the plane crash to the wolf attacks to surviving the wilderness, it makes you realize how you would never ever ever survive in this type of situation. The plane crashing scene alone is enough to make you wince, and the downward spiraling adventure is shown masterfully.  But it's not just about the physical strain, it's also a battle of egos and a battle of wits. It's not just a question of can Ottway get through this, but if he even wants to.

There's some nice acting here with conflicting egos, and it could have come off as cliche, but here they feel like real people.  It's not just the doctor, the skinny guy, and the badass, it's a group of real guys who are scared and just want to go home. But really, Liam Neeson steals the show.  Through his tired yet hardened narration and his ever topping acts of mountainmanism, he continues to cement himself as a badass force of nature. In the battle of the force of nature vs. the force of Liam Neson, my money's always on Neeson.

But here's the main problem, and I should probably throw up a SPOILER ALERT for this. The sole reason I came to this movie was to see Liam Neeson punch a wolf in the face. Not that I'm pro punching wolves in the face or anything, but it was heavily teased in the trailers, and was the main selling point for a lot of people.  And if it had just been 15 minutes of awesome Neeson on Wolf action, I would have been satisfied. But that is the one scene they DON'T put in the movie! The wolf battle is the very last scene, and it cuts out right before they battle, leaving you to wonder who won in the fight. It is the mother of all copouts. Not that it ruins the rest of the movie otherwise, but when you hype something so much in your trailer and then don't put it in the movie, that is false advertising. And in the case of Liam Neeson, it's a travesty.  END SPOILER ALERT.

Having said that, Liam Neeson is incredibly badass in this movie. He tells it like it is, he fights men, he macguyvers stuff from twigs and paper, and he swears like a mofo. It's generally entertaining to see Neeson swear, because, dammit he is in the snow and fuck those wolves, man.  Also I have to say that some of the deaths, especially later, feel cheap. It's just, really? This is how you're going to die? From stupidity? Ugh.

The soundtrack here is slow, sad, and moving, like a dying man in the snow. It's perfect.  I really enjoyed the main theme and it adds a tragic tone to the already tragic story.

THE GOOD: Intense, great adventure, Liam Neeson is badass, great acting and soundtrack.
THE BAD: The wolf punching is overhyped, some of the deaths are not believable.
OVERALL: It's an amazing and enjoyable film, and you should see it, just don't expect Liam Neeson to go Liam Neeson on that wolf's ass.
MOVIES LIKE IT: The Edge, Taken
ONE SCENE METAPHOR: Very early in the film, just after the plane has crashed, the survivors find a man who's got a major wound and is bleeding profusely. Instead of the usual, "you're going to be ok" lie we're usually told, Neeson straight up tells the guy, "You are going to die." Liam Neeson tells it like it is.

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