Film Review – THE ICE ROAD (2021)

THE ICE ROAD (2021, USA/Canada) **
Action, Adventure
dist. Netflix (USA), Signature Entertainment (UK); pr co. Code Entertainment / ShivHans Pictures / Envision Media Arts / Ice Road Productions; d. Jonathan Hensleigh; w. Jonathan Hensleigh; pr. Al Corley, Eugene Musso, Lee Nelson, Shivani Rawat, Bart Rosenblatt, David Tish; ph. Tom Stern (Colour. DCP Digital Cinema Package. ARRIRAW (4.5K) (source format). 2.39:1); m. Max Aruj; ed. Douglas Crise; pd. Arvinder Greywal; ad. David Best; rel. 25 June 2021 (UK/USA – internet); BBFC cert: 12; r/t. 109m.
cast: Liam Neeson (Mike McCann), Marcus Thomas (Gurty McCann), Laurence Fishburne (Jim Goldenrod), Amber Midthunder (Tantoo), Benjamin Walker (Tom Varnay), Holt McCallany (Lampard), Martin Sensmeier (Cody Mantooth), Matt McCoy (GM George Sickle), Matt Salinger (CEO Thomason), Chad Bruce (Shift Super Mankins), Adam Hurtig (Fred Ford), Bradley Sawatzky (VP Operations Jack Tager), Marshall Williams (Mine Safety Supervisor Tully), Paul Essiembre (Deputy Minister O’Toole), Arne MacPherson (Miner Claude), Gabriel Daniels (Miner Barney), Natasha Elise Kotzubei (Lead VA Nurse), Lauren Cochrane (VA Nurse), Harry Nelken (VA Administrative), Al Corley (Doctor).
A grizzled Neeson is the main draw in this cliched action thriller. After a remote diamond mine collapses in far northern Canada, a ‘big-rig’ ice road driver (Neeson) must lead an impossible rescue mission over a frozen ocean to save the trapped miners. Saddled with a by-the-numbers script with some risible dialogue, Neeson and company still manage to inject some energy into the proceedings. Unfortunately, the plotting becomes increasingly illogical and the action sequences are unevenly directed and edited with sub-standard CGI.

Film Review – THE MULE (2018)

Image result for the mule 2018THE MULE (USA, 2018) ***½
      Distributor: Warner Bros.; Production Company: Imperative Entertainment / Warner Bros. / Bron Studios / Malpaso Productions; Release Date: 10 December 2018 (USA), 25 January 2019 (UK); Filming Dates: Began 2 June 2018; Running Time: 116m; Colour: Colour; Sound Mix: Dolby Digital (7.1 surround); Film Format: D-Cinema; Film Process: Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), Panavision (anamorphic) (source format); Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
      Director: Clint Eastwood; Writer: Nick Schenk (inspired by the New York Times Magazine Article “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year Old Drug Mule” by Sam Dolnick); Executive Producer: David Bernad, Jason Cloth, Ruben Fleischer, Aaron L. Gilbert, Todd Hoffman; Producer: Clint Eastwood, Dan Friedkin, Jessica Meier, Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera, Bradley Thomas; Associate Producer: Holly Hagy; Director of Photography: Yves Bélanger; Music Composer: Arturo Sandoval; Music Supervisor: ; Film Editor: Joel Cox; Casting Director: Tara Feldstein, Geoffrey Miclat, Chase Paris; Production Designer: Kevin Ishioka; Art Director: Rory Bruen, Julien Pougnier; Set Decorator: Ronald R. Reiss; Costumes: Deborah Hopper; Make-up: Luisa Abel; Sound: Alan Robert Murray; Special Effects: J.D. Schwalm; Visual Effects: Adam Ohl, Suraj Kaur Khalsa, Rick Sander.
      Cast: Clint Eastwood (Earl Stone), Bradley Cooper (Colin Bates), Laurence Fishburne (Carl), Michael Peña (Trevino), Dianne Wiest (Mary), Ignacio Serricchio (Julio), Andy García (Latón), Taissa Farmiga (Ginny), Alison Eastwood (Iris), Richard Herd (Tim Kennedy), Lobo Sebastian (Bug), Manny Montana (Axl), Noel G. (Bald Rob), Loren Dean (DEA Agent Brown), Victor Rasuk (Rico), Clifton Collins Jr. (Gustavo), Robert LaSardo (Emilio), Eugene Cordero (Luis Rocha).
      Synopsis: A 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran is caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Illinois for a Mexican drug cartel.
      Comment: Entertaining, if slight, story that fully capitalises on Eastwood’s charisma – which still burns bright into his 88th year. Evenly paced and directed with a sure hand, it benefits by concentrating on bringing character development to the forefront and using the plot as the device to do so. Cooper also gives a nicely judged performance as the drug enforcement officer closing in on the drug cartel’s operation. The scenes between Eastwood and Cooper are sublimely understated adding to the bittersweet nature of the story’s resolution.
      Notes: The movie was inspired by the story of Leo Sharp, a World War II veteran in his 80s who became the world’s oldest and most prolific drug mule for the Sinaloa Cartel.