After their plane crashes in Alaska, six oil workers are led by Ottway (Liam Neeson), a skilled huntsman, to survival, but a pack of merciless wolves haunts their every step in Joe Carnahan’s (The A-Team, Smokin’ Aces) latest thriller. The Grey features another solid leading turn by Neeson as well as decent support helped by some well-written characters. The film also benefits from an often nasty script as well as some frantic and thrilling set-pieces, with plenty going on in such a beautiful but baron location.
Sadly, the villains of the piece are wolves. Considering how real the film feels at times, it seems a bit daft that the bogeymen are subspecies of the Canis lupus that reside along the Arctic coast in Alaska, merely because human attacks are extremely rare. Even the Alaska black wolf, the largest subspecies, would try to avoid contact with people, to the point of even abandoning their kills when an approaching human is detected.
Of course, there are several reported circumstances in which wolves have been recorded to act aggressively toward humans, but not in such a manner as seen in Carnahan’s movie. Oddly, werewolves would’ve been more realistic. The creature effects aren’t that great either, letting down a film that could’ve been superb. As it stands, The Grey shows some imagination, defies plot logic, but thoroughly entertains regardless. Carnahan is worth keeping an eye on. DW