I have come to the realization that I sometimes get more excited to see one scene in a movie than the movie as a whole. For example, I could not wait to for the moment in Air Force One, when Harrison Ford gruffly commands, “Get off my plane!” I’ve seen the movie a bunch of times, but I usually endure it once more so I can savor that perfect moment of pure testosterone bliss as Harrison Ford Breaks Gary Oldman’s neck and throws him off the plane. I think I did it again with “The Grey.” I really like Liam Neeson, and the trailers for the movie seemed promising. However, it only took a brief shot at the end of the trailer of Liam Neeson breaking bottles and taping them to his hands that made me realize my life would never be complete unless I watched him punch a wolf in the face.
“The Grey” follows a group of refinery workers after they survive a plane crash in frozen Alaskan wilderness. They quickly realize that they will not be found and their best hope of survival is to head south towards civilization. Before long, a pack of wolves begins picking the men off one at time and the story shifts from one of survival against nature, to the classic tale of man versus wolf.
However, these are not ordinary wolves. In “The Grey” the wolves are portrayed as massive computer generated beasts not unlike the wolf from the beginning of “300.” They also move and think like a pack of velociraptors and they can practically fly. I’m still wondering how they got down that cliff in the movie so quickly.
As you might imagine from the trailers, “The Grey” is an oftentimes suspenseful movie. It starts out with a very intense, passenger perspective plane crash. Filmmakers usually prefer to show the action on the outside, but seeing the plane rip apart from the inside was very unique and added a different level of tension to the scene. From there, the plane crash survivors struggled to stay alive amidst a blizzard, diminishing supplies, and the wolf pack that stalked them. Most of the tension does not come from cheap scares by having the wolves fly out of nowhere. It’s never a big secret when an attack is about to happen, but as I grew more attached to the characters, I became more and more fearful that their feeble attempts to fend off the beasts would not be enough.
With any movie where a person’s life is on the line, you can’t help but think how you might have done things differently to try to stay alive. I know it does not make for a very interesting movie if everyone lives, but shouldn’t these guys be a little more scared and prepared for the wolves that just viciously killed several of their coworkers twenty minutes ago? For example, there are scenes where they’re sitting around a campfire at night exchanging stories, and getting drunk. I’ve never been trapped in the Alaskan wilderness fending off a pack of wolves from “300,” but I’d probably spend more time sharpening sticks into spears and, and less time reminiscing about the last time I got laid. I’d also have two men keep watch while the others slept just in case one of them falls asleep. Just a suggestion.
Though I liked “The Grey,” I did leave the theater feeling a little disappointed. It’s a suspenseful movie, with some interesting characters, but I was hoping for more wolf-punching. I probably got myself too excited to see “Taken” but with wolves, that I didn’t let a perfectly good survival story wash completely over me. “The Grey” is nothing you really need to rush out and see in theaters, but it certainly is worth a look. Just don’t make the same mistake I did and expect Liam Neeson to take on these wolves with his bare hands.
tl;dr Liam Neeson’s movies of late have been all about kicking asses, but “The Grey” is more about trying to not have your ass eaten.