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The Ice Road | Review

The Ice Road is a baffling action picture, and a terrible vehicle for Liam Neeson to star in.



*Warning: This piece contains spoilers for The Ice Road*

Liam Neeson’s gruff masculine performance is back (with a vengeance, yet again, because that’s the only thing he’s been doing for over ten years now) in The Ice Road, one of the most abysmal pictures you’ll see all year. Abysmal, how? It’s Liam Neeson driving a Kenworth truck on thin ice, as he and a crew of fellow truckers must bring a Wellhead to the Katka mine in Manitoba, in which a group of 26 miners are trapped due to a methane explosion; how can that be bad? Well, for starters, it starts early-on when Mark McCann (Neeson) quickly realizes that the Katka Mine company wants the crew to fail by sending an actuary (Benjamin Walker) to sabotage the mission and make sure they do not make it to the mine, as they are covering up a potential political scandal. This is where The Ice Road goes to shit, for lack of better words, and never wants to keep it simple instead.

The Ice Road': First Look At Liam Neeson In Action Rescue Movie – Deadline

Bad CGI aside, this could’ve been a rather enjoyable “race against time” movie, commanded by Neeson, in which the task-at-hand would be extremely difficult due to ever-changing weather and an unreliable ice surface. We’d obviously anticipate a positive outcome and success in the mission, even if some lives are lost, and the crew escapes the unthinkable multiple times. That’s not what happens, as director Jonathan Hensleigh wants to throw in a badly shoved-in commentary on the evils of being a “business as usual” capitalist, in which the millionaires sit at an office desk do not care about workplace safety if it equals more money for them. That’s fine if you want to paint the CEO of Katka as a spineless man who only cares about filling his pockets that’ll dictate his “tough decisions,” instead of making him look like an assassin (?) who’ll do anything to make sure the crew never arrives with the Wellheads? Why? What’s his endgame? To cover up the fact that he ordered the mining crew to cut off the methane sensors so the mine wouldn’t shut down? That’s it? You literally hire a killer to cover up your own mess to constantly fill your pocket and stage a tragedy? Who on earth would want to do something as baffling as this?

So instead of having this fairly standard “race against time” thriller I’ve mentioned in the last paragraph, we’re stuck inside a political action film/revenge flick we don’t want a part of. The trailers do not advertise The Ice Road as a political action film. Liam Neeson will have to exact revenge on the capitalists who want the crew dead to stage a tragedy, but rather a “race against time” thriller that I’ve mentioned for a third time now! Of course, there is the “race against time,” since McCann et al. has 30 hours to make it to the mine before the crew deprive themselves of oxygen and die, but the “race against time” the trailers promote is the one of unpredictable climate, thin ice and cracks that make for a perilous journey, not Benjamin Walker trying to kill everyone for reasons that make absolutely no sense! My God, imagine if you’re embroiled in a scandal that could end your career, and now you have the opportunity to become the hero of the day that has saved the Katka miners from asphyxiation! People will likely turn a blind eye to potential scandal if it means trying to do right by the mistakes you’ve made in the past instead of turning into a complete psychopath hellbent on making sure nobody lives to tell the tale of Katka’s malpractices. Of course, you turned out to be a heartless person, but at least you did the right thing for once and realized how egotistical you were by leaving the men to die and not caring about their safety.

Liam Neeson's Next Big Action Movie Is Going Straight To Netflix

The Ice Road doesn’t care about any of that, nor the moral aspects of leaving the miners to die. Once it’s revealed that Benjamin Walker’s Varnay sabotaged the mission and caused the death of Laurence Fishburne’s Goldenrod, this is where the film quickly fizzles out and never recovers afterward. Before that, it was an easygoing (albeit uninspired) truck action picture that only set itself up as being an environmental “race against time” picture. The environmental challenge is still there, with some of the worst CGI effects I’ve seen all year, but it takes a backseat and prefers to tell a story nobody cares about and has any interest in seeing. It’s completely baffling to see to what extent will Varnay go to make sure they don’t make it to the mine. His demeanor is particularly God-like, surviving the most unrealistic car crash imaginable, blowing up ice with dynamite in more ways than one, and ordering James Bond-lite henchman to kill McCann and his brother, Gurty (Marcus Thomas), without the use of weapons to make it look like an accident. The cherry on top is the final fight between Varnay and Mark—with a clear stunt double replacing Liam Neeson during close-up moments with soulless cinematography from Tom Stern, a usually decent director of photography.

Liam Neeson & 'The Ice Road' Cast Braved Extreme Temps for the Action  Thriller | Entertainment |

There’s no creativity in any of the film’s action sequences. They’re either horrendously shot to the point where it looks like a bad SyFy original or filled with visual effects likely made for 5¢ that renders every scene unintentionally hilarious. Varnay’s death is hilarious here, with the fakest waves you’ve ever seen since Sharknado. Since there’s no creativity to render any of the action scenes competent or palatable to watch, none of the performances particularly hit either. The only one that seems to care is Laurence Fishburne, who magnifies the screen by briefly starring in the film. Neeson phones in his usual macho schtick, adding not much else to his “this time, it’s personal” tenure he’s been doing in his sleep since he starred in the dreadful Taken trilogy. Neeson only seems to shine in action films when they’re directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, real action movies with a soul, compelling aesthetics, and competently shot action sequences.

Serra is an old-school filmmaker who knows exactly the kind of acting Neeson excels at, reviving his career à la Charles Bronson Cannon Group partnership. Jonathan Hensleigh, in the case of The Ice Road, only knows that Neeson will do a half-competent job as roles like these are now an easy paycheck for him. Neeson should absolutely do more than an easy paycheck and stick to more nuanced, dramatic performances instead of doing “gruff” Taken-esque action films all the time. They’re no fun anymore, for the audience and him as well. It’s finally time to move on.

The Ice Road is now streaming on Netflix (U.S. Only) and available to rent or buy on video-on-demand (Canada/International).

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Expendables 4 Movie Review | Explosive & Funny!



Expendables 4 (Lionsgate Movies)

The following piece was written during the 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie material being covered here wouldn’t exist.


A new generation of stars join the world’s top action stars for an adrenaline-fueled adventure in Expend4bles. Reuniting as the team of elite mercenaries, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, and Sylvester Stallone are joined for the first time by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, and Andy Garcia. Armed with every weapon they can get their hands on and the skills to use them, The Expendables are the world’s last line of defense and the team that gets called when all other options are off the table. But new team members with new styles and tactics are going to give “new blood” a whole new meaning.

Iko Uwais as Suarto Rahmat (Lionsgate Movies)

The Expendables Film Series

I highly recommend catching up on the other movies in the Expendables film series.

Expendables 1 (2010)

The only life they’ve known is war. The only loyalty they have is to each other. They are the Expendables: leader and mastermind Barney Ross (Stallone), former SAS blade expert Lee Christmas (Statham), hand-to-hand combat specialist Yin Yang (Li), long barrel weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Crews), demolitions expert Toll Road (Couture), and precision sniper Gunnar Jensen (Lundgren). Living life in the fringes of the law, these hardened mercenaries take on what appears to be a routine assignment: a covert, CIA-funded operation to infiltrate the South American country of Vilena and overthrow its ruthless dictator General Garza (David Zayas). But when their job is revealed to be a suicide mission, the men are faced with a deadly choice, one that might redeem their souls or destroy their brotherhood forever.

The Expendables Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

Expendables 2

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) — with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard — are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time — six tons of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother. That is done the Expendables way….

The Expendables 2 Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

Expendables 3 (2014)

In The Expendables 3, Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team comes face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. In order to defeat Stonebanks, Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables’ most personal battle yet.

The Expendables 3 Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

Movie Review

Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture and Sylvester Stallone bring the explosive energy needed to give us an explosive performance on-screen. The new members, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, and Andy Garcia bring in a breath of fresh air with new attitude and fighting styles to keep us entertained. This movie is the fourth in the Expendable film series, but there is definitely no clear link between this movie and the prequels. Each movie in essence is a new mission and Expendables 4 can be watched without watching the previous movies. I suggest watching the previous three movies to experience the explosive action that you get when you combine our favorite action heroes.

Sylvester Stallone as Barney Ross, leader of the Expendables (Lionsgate Movies)

Expendables 4 was great and delivered yet another action-packed mission filled with awesome fights, humor, cultural references and explosions. However, it wasn’t difficult to spot the main villain and there aren’t much surprises in terms of the new action stars who join this mission.

The movie starts us off with the Expendables in a race against time to retrieve nuclear warheads, but the mission goes south and instead of sticking to orders, one of the soldiers attempt to save his team member instead, which results in a failed mission and a casualty. The story follows the combination of accomplishing the mission while delivering a can of revenge-based whoop-ass. The last fight isn’t as explosive as the cast but still manages to deliver a plot-twist finale.

Megan Fox, Andy Garcia & Jacob Scipio, some of the newest members of the Expendables (Lionsgate Movies)

A future sequel should really consider a completely new group pick up the baton and leave us in suspense as to who the new heroes and villains could be. I love a good surprise with a side of plot twist in any movie.

There is no post-credits scene, so no need to wait till the very end. The trailer doesn’t spoil any of the plot twists you can expect from the movie. Overall, my rating for Expendables 4 is a 3.5 out of 5.

Make sure to watch at a cinema near you!

Expend4bles Official Trailer (Lionsgate Movies)

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Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom | Official Trailer

Arthur must enlist the help of his half-brother Orm in order to protect Atlantis against Black Manta, who has unleashed a devastating weapon in his obsessive quest to avenge his father’s death.




Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom [credit: Warner Bros. / DC]


Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Release Date:

December 20,  2023


James Wan


Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Plot Summary:

Arthur must enlist the help of his half-brother Orm in order to protect Atlantis against Black Manta, who has unleashed a devastating weapon in his obsessive quest to avenge his father’s death.

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Retribution Movie Review: Mildly Explosive 



Lionsgate Films

The following piece was written during the 2023 Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie, Retribution, being covered here wouldn’t exist.


When a mysterious caller puts a bomb under Matt Turner’s car seat, he begins a high-speed chase across the city to complete a specific series of tasks. With his kids trapped in the back seat and a bomb that will explode if they get out of the car, a normal commute becomes a twisted game of life or death as Matt follows the stranger’s increasingly dangerous instructions in a race against time to save his family.

Liam Neeson as Matt Turner (Lionsgate Films)

Did You Know?

This movie is the third remake of the movie titled Retribution.

In 2015, a Spanish-language adaptation, The Stranger (El desconocido) was released. This was the first Retribution movie. A dishonest banker pays the ultimate price for his wrongdoings when he is held hostage in his own speeding car by a bomb-making extortionist.

In 2018, a German-language adaptation, Don’t. Get. Out! (Steig. Nicht. Aus!) was released in Germany. A loving father and husband is extorted by an unknown guy and he is about to lose his life, his money and his family

In 2021, a Korean version, Hard Hit (Balsinjehan) was released. On his way to work, a bank manager receives an anonymous call claiming there’s a bomb under his car seat, and if anyone exits the car, it will explode unless he can pay a ransom.

The Turner Family (Lionsgate Films)

Movie Review

Liam Neeson plays the role of Matt Turner, and is literally in the ‘hot seat’ throughout most of the movie. The movie eases you into the drama and the suspense keeps building as the time passes. No time is wasted to bring A small cast brought an intense situation to life in Retribution, and I need to compliment, especially Liam Neeson, Jack Champion and Lilly Aspell, who played the parts of Matt Turner, Zach Turner and Emily Turner respectively for playing the part in the car to perfection. A plot twist is delivered at the end, but the ending is not as explosive as the bomb in the car.

Overall my rating is 3 out of 5 for the Retribution. There is no post-credits scene, so no need to wait till the end. The trailer doesn’t spoil too much of the movie and serves as a great appetizer for Retribution.

Catch the trailer, and watch Retribution at a cinema near you.

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