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    February 7, 2012


    THE GREY (18)

    Genre: Drama/Action/Adventure
    Release Date: 2 February 2012
    Running Time: 94 minutes (been cut out 23 minutes?)
    Distributor: Rainfilm Sdn Bhd (via Open Road Films)
    Director: Joe Carnahan
    Screenplay: Joe Carnahan
    Starring: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney

    Plot: In The Grey, Liam Neeson leads an unruly group of oil-rig roughnecks when their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness. Battling mortal injuries and merciless weather, the survivors have only a few days to escape the icy elements - and a vicious pack of rogue wolves on the hunt - before their time runs out. REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP

    Review: Liam Neeson has been quite personage recently; representing who appears to be the action icon of the midlife-plus-elder generation. Years in and years out, Liam Neeson has never failed to kick more asses and delivering some of his best classic lines into his movies. Two years ago, Neeson took down the entire black op that kidnapped his daughter. Last year, he tried to maintain his sanity by punching more fists into the face of bio-terrorists. Now comes this winter where Neeson traveled (or rather stranded) on the wilderness and standing up against a pack of wolves. ‘The Grey’ as it is, seems to have failed to deliver a handsome proportional to the Liam Neeson’s norms – kicking ass.

    A group of oil rig workers is leaving the Alaskan facility, heading their way back to Anchorage to family and friends. Little do they know that a harsh storm will send their plane crashing into the wilderness. John Ottway (Liam Neeson) works as the hunter-guard that protects the workers from unforeseen nature threats (particularly wolves). He arms with skills and knowledge of the ice field but is left with a deep depression. He is forced to lead a disruptive group of survivors out of the blizzard and injuries. The survivors now face an imminent enemy like no others. They come into contact with a deathly pack of rogue wolves on the hunt, seeing them as intruders of their territory.

    For those who did not realize, I would like to point out that the version of ‘The Grey’ you watched in the cinema is absurdly shorter by 23 minutes from the version playing in the United States. Soyou ask? Probably, the best answer is obtained by asking the authority called FINAS. Back to the discussion, the awkward and unnecessary censors must have paid a high price to the intact of the movie. The biggest complaint is with the trim; the whole story line feels a little flat and jagged. I cannot get the missing loopholes that the authority decided to give but all I can say that this is a complete nuisance and an uncomfortable experience.

    Unlike Joe Carnahan’s last few efforts of providing some intense and over-the-top action scenes, ‘The Grey’ misses those elements completely. There is not much of ass-kicking (or rather wolves-pounding) that can be seen although it would be necessary to have some to fuel the story. It goes down to the public perception and expectation prior to watching this movie. If you are thinking of heavy actions in it; chances are this movie will derail your expectation completely.

    It is not a bad thing after all considering that Carnahan has decided to treat this movie very differently. Instead, ‘The Grey’ excels mostly in its styles of portraying a horrific gripping moment between life and death as it plays around the same poem repeatedly; vital for Liam’s character emotionally. That’s philosophical and Carnahan brings in more than just about the idea on death, but also something about grace, nature and love for the audience to aspire. Ultimately, ‘The Grey’ is not an average thriller that fires so many bullets, but it plays a central melodrama plot that captures the development of spirituality and survival.

    Understandably, the core theme revolves around man versus nature; in which Ottway leads the survivors in enduring the blizzard, death and wolves are the essential pillars of the plot. While the gripping moments are used well; the execution and the mechanic of the movie are disappointing. With its lack of actions, the story should turn to the characters to run the show. Unfortunately, ‘The Grey’ gives too much emphasis on the character John Ottway that it forgets to give an equal fair of opportunity to others to stand out. Ottway is indeed the only focal point worth mentioning, and his flashback stories are done nicely to captivate his dark depressing soul. At one point, the images of his wife telling him to not be afraid is what that gives him strength but at the other moment, he is contemplating of suicidal.

    So it could be easy to say that ‘The Grey’ is exclusively Ottway’s. I see potentials around several characters like Diaz (Frank Grillo), Talget (Dermont Mulroney) and Hendrick (Dallas Roberts), but the screenplay relegates them down the field as merely the food for the wolves. Between them are the obvious thin character developments that make the audience really care about them after all. Then there goes a somewhat awkward result of the improper mechanic of the movie.

    With the relegation of supporting roles, ‘The Grey’ works closer as a horror franchise that constantly trims its survivors one by one at a frantic moment. To top that up, a gruesome share of violence, blood and bones are born witnessed. With the lack of focus action, it does not help to suit itself to probably a fraction of other audiences. Thus, I would have to suggest Carnahan to choose wisely between bringing an A-Team to take down the wolves or letting Liam Neeson punching the pack just like what he did in his last two winter adventures.

    Ultimately, ‘The Grey’ is a somewhat mediocre experiment of putting men up to the test against the wild nature. It pins down with a largely convincing performance by Liam Neeson, attractive human philosophical agendas and engaging moments between life and death. Otherwise, ‘The Grey’ fails to make the supporting characters interesting to follow and does not live to its expectation of promising Liam pounding the wolves enough. Nevertheless, it has the best open-ended ending in my recent movie experiences.

    Story: 3.0
    Casts: 4.5
    Cinematography: 4.0
    Effects: 4.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 14.5/20.0

    'THE GREY' is showing nationwide.
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