Liam Neeson toes the thin line between death and survival in new feature film The Grey

Liam Neeson toes the thin line between death and survival in his new film The Grey

The Grey (15)

Verdict: Has bite

The big disappointment is that, despite the title, The Grey is not The John Major Story.

Instead, it’s a tale of a morose, suicidal alpha male (Liam Neeson) leading a totally masculine band of survivors from an air crash, as they try to survive in wolf-infested Alaska.

Director Joe Carnahan does a classier job here than on the effects extravaganza The A Team, and at its best it’s a gripping action movie about the thin line between death and survival, reminiscent of Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort.

Great middle-aged tough guy: But Liam Neeson is let down by the screenplay in The Grey

Great middle-aged tough guy: But Liam Neeson is let down by the screenplay in The Grey

Leading men don’t come huskier than Neeson, and there’s no one better at playing a middle-aged tough-guy.

It’s too bad the screenplay doesn’t give him a more winning character. He’s dour, morose and introspective.

Nor are there any fascinating characters in supporting roles, and the film slows to a halt whenever there’s an attempt to drum up human interest.

My other complaint would be that the numerous wolf attacks suffer from being shot so close and edited so frantically: there’s nothing much to see except fur and jaws.

For all that, Neeson is compelling, and this is a solidly crafted action movie. There’s much to admire here, if little to love.