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The Grey

Air Transportation DisastersTransportation DisastersMoviesSarah PalinAnthony Hopkins

Some people have said they hated the vague ending of this movie. I didn’t mind the ending, although I’ve now heard that there was one last scene after the closing credits. I’m really getting sick of this technique in films recently.

I found it strange that they give us a protagonist (Liam Neeson) who starts the movie with a rifle in his mouth, ready to kill himself because his wife left. I thought it was the perfect person to die in a plane crash. Of course, we end up rooting for this alpha male early on, because he really does seem to care about the safety of the fellow passengers, even if he didn’t like them as human beings (early in the narration he talks about what losers they are).

He works on an oil-rig in northern Alaska, and the plane crashes on their way back to Anchorage. Instead of landing on a tropical island with Tom Hanks and Wilson, the guys have blizzards and 10 degree temperatures. Oh, and they’re being stalked by wolves.

I’m guessing I’m not the only person that found it odd that in real life, Neeson’s wife Natasha Richardson died after an accident skiing. Now he’s marching through the snow, looking at bodies scattered around the plane wreckage.

In the trailers before the movie started, there were two other films with Neeson. I’m starting to wonder how many movies he’s going to be in this year, and if he’s trying to rival Michael Caine as the actor who never turns down a script sent his way.

The only other member of the cast I knew was Dermet Mulroney, who did a decent job. Newcomer Frank Grillo was great as the jerk of the group. All of these types of films have that jerk. He’s the one we know is going to be the first eaten by a pack of wolves. I hated the fact that when he does have his big fight with Neeson, he’s holding a knife. How can we not root for the wolves against a guy that would do that?

Writer/director Joe Carnahan gave us The A-Team and Smokin’ Aces, so I guess we should be happy this movie isn’t that bad. It’s mostly just predictable. It didn’t do enough to separate itself from the pack.

Neeson does a fine job (even looking a bit like a wolf) leading the men and carrying the film.

You’ll certainly leave this movie without ever wanting to write your name in the snow again, or hating Sarah Palin for picking off wolves from a helicopter.

There were enough good scenes that I stayed entertained. One is when we first see all the eyes of the wolves at night. Another has a guy who is afraid of heights, trying to get from a cliff to a tree. And watching the wolves chase down the guys as they walk through the snow, reminded me of that priaml fear you had watching the pit bull chase Josh Brolin down in No Country For Old Men.

You’ll be on the edge of your seat, but I’d suggest instead you rent The Edge -- a much better film by David Mamet, starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. It came out 15 years ago to mixed reviews, but I found the conversation among about survival among the men a lot more interesting.

I’m giving this 2 stars out of 5.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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