Saturday, 23 October 2021

‘Ice Road’ a perilous thrills trip; random TV preview



‘THE ICE ROAD’ RATED PG-13 ON NETFLIX

Befitting his status as the B-movie action hero, the latest Liam Neeson adventure thriller actually has a rating, but “The Ice Road” would really qualify as a straight-to-video film.

Enter Netflix, a streaming service that arguably has a fondness for entertainments in this genre, to deliver since the studio pipeline to local cinemas at this point in time is not back up to pre-COVID glory days.

In a nutshell, the premise of “The Ice Road” can be deduced from the opening credit sequence which informs the viewer that 65,000-pound trucks traversing frozen lakes and rivers can be dangerous and result in fatalities.

Also noted in the credits is this kicker: “Some drivers describe (these treks) as suicide missions.” Right away, we know the stakes are going to be high for traveling on the ice roads.

OK, who’s either crazy or incredibly brave enough to take on this driving assignment? Well, this is a Liam Neeson movie after all. Three guesses and the first two don’t count.

As it happens, Liam Neeson’s long-haul driver Mike McCann and his brother Gurty (Marcus Thomas), a skilled mechanic and war veteran suffering PTSD and aphasia, are based in North Dakota and looking for work in Canada.

An explosion at a diamond mine in northern Manitoba traps about two dozen miners underground. A rescue mission must be accomplished within 30 hours due to the limited supply of oxygen, but the site is remote and hard to access.

The heavy equipment needed to save the miners can’t be airlifted, and spring weather is making thinning ice roads even more precarious to travel. A convoy of three rigs will be needed for the sake of redundancy, allowing for at least one truck to make it all the way.

Expedition organizer Jim Goldenrod (Laurence Fishburne) needs a crew yesterday, so he takes on the team of Mike and Gurty and posts bail for rebellious young Native activist Tantoo (Amber Midthunder), whose brother is one of the trapped miners.

Along for the ride is the mining company’s actuary (Benjamin Walker), an obnoxious fellow who may have more on his mind than crunching the numbers for an insurance risk analysis.

Tension on the road trip comes from racing against the clock with suspected sabotage of an engine, perilous frozen cracks, rippling sheets of ice, a storm and an avalanche.

A conspiracy is afoot that may or may not be fully revealed or understood. The trapped miners bicker over the idea of thinning the herd to conserve a dwindling oxygen supply. Some people turn out not to be who you thought they were.

With the help of some mercenaries, the corporate bad guys prove to be even worse than thought possible. A key player is also unjustly maligned before becoming a key asset at a critical juncture in the mission’s journey.

Liam Neeson is still working at being the oldest actor taking the tough guy roles, whether in a B-movie or not. Though “The Ice Road” is far from one of the better films in the action genre, it’s not an altogether misfire.

RANDOM TV PREVIEW

Netflix announced it’s working on an untitled workplace comedy series inspired by the front office of the Los Angeles Lakers, an iconic franchise with 17 NBA championships to its credit.

Jeanie Buss, owner of the team that she inherited from her father Jerry Buss, famously posed for Playboy back in 1995 as a younger sports executive in the front office.

Since this series is inspired by the personal and professional dynamic between the family owners and front office team, will the fictional team governor Eliza Reed navigating NBA ownership and family drama have to deal with lingering fallout from posing in the buff?

Will the front office deal with the poor sportsmanship often displayed by the team’s superstar LeBron James? Is there room for satire of a player who leaves his team hanging with almost six minutes to go in a crucial playoff game?

AMC Networks announced that it has greenlit Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampires” as a new series for AMC+ and AMC based on the bestselling novel that will premiere next year.

In a major acquisition, the company acquired the rights to Rice’s iconic works, encompassing 18 titles including the “Vampire Chronicles” and “Mayfair Witches” series.

Rice’s first novel “Interview with the Vampire,” in which Lestat was the central character, was nearly two decades later turned into a movie of the same name with Tom Cruise as the French aristocratic vampire.

The Anne Rice fan base is massive, and the fact that the famed author and her son Christopher Rice will serve as executive producers on all series and films should draw interest to AMC’s ambitious plans.

AMC has scored a coup with holding the rights for the world renowned and globally coveted intellectual property to develop its own Anne Rice franchise. Together, the “Vampire Chronicles and the “Mayfair” book series have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

Upcoming Calendar

23Oct
10.23.2021 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Rodman Preserve Saturday self-guided walks
23Oct
10.23.2021 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Prescription Drug Take Back Day
23Oct
10.23.2021 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Northshore Fall Festival
23Oct
10.23.2021 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Luau on the Lake
25Oct
10.25.2021 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Lake County 29'ers Cribbage Club Meeting
26Oct
10.26.2021 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
27Oct
10.27.2021 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Thompson virtual town hall
28Oct
10.28.2021 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
30Oct
10.30.2021 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Rodman Preserve Saturday self-guided walks
31Oct
10.31.2021
Halloween

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