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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: The Grey

As Drab as the Color

By Chris Sabga

Release Date: January 27, 2012 – U.S.
Rating: R
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Running Time: 117 minutes
Director: Joe Carnahan
Writers: Carnahan, Ian Mackenzie Jeffers
Cast: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, 
Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, 
James Badge Dale, Ben Bray

"The Grey" is a glorified horror movie with an arthouse message. It doesn't quite work. That message – which is both chilling and effective – has the misfortune of being stuck in a dull film with only a few scattered thrills.

The story is pretty threadbare too. Plane crash survivors trudge through the Alaskan snow and fight off monstrous wolves. That more or less describes the entire movie. It's very bloody and violent, yet rarely exciting or engaging.

Liam Neeson is his usual solid self, but none of the characters are developed much. All we ever really find out is that they have a wife or daughter or some other loved one waiting for them. If we were given other concrete reasons to care about these people, the stakes would have been higher and everything would have mattered more.

I suspect "The Grey" intentionally tries to be like the far superior "Alien," but it misses the mark. One of the characters even wears a "WY" hat, which some have speculated is directly related to the Weyland-Yutani Corporation from "Alien." I doubt that, but it is possibly a subtle wink and nod to the similar style of both films.

There are a few moments of brilliance in "The Grey," but the rest of the movie doesn't measure up. However, despite all of its faults, it initially seems to have the perfect ending. Too bad there's a small scene after the credits that waters it down.

Liam Neeson has morphed into a superb action star over the past few years, but watching "The Grey" is more monotonous than slogging through snow.  

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