The Grey howls at January competition

My friends and I wanted to see this movie because Liam Neeson is in it. It’s that simple. After Neeson starred in Taken, my friends and I dubbed him, “the man.” We also named our intramural basketball team after him at the University of Scranton. In four years, we still haven’t changed our team name. Why would we? A good reason may be because we have lost in the Final Four for three straight years, but that’s besides the point. Liam Neeson is the man. Just look at the characters he played in his career:

Qui-Gon Jinn (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace), “Priest” Vallon (Gangs of New York), Ra’s Al Ghul (Batman Begins), Aslan (The Chronicles of Narnia), Bryan Mills (Taken), Hannibal Smith (The A-Team), Zeus (Clash of the Titans). He’s the Jedi that trained Obi-Wan Kenobi. He’s the ninja that trained Batman. He’s Zeus…ZEUS, the leader of the gods!

Naturally I was excited when I saw a movie coming out where Neeson would take on a pack of wolves with his bare hands. However, The Grey had much more substance than I originally anticipated.Neeson’s character, Ottway, is an employee of an oil company working in Alaska. His job is to protect other workers from getting killed by wolves. He stands away from the work crew and keeps an eye out for wolves with his rifle in hand. We see his skills early on when he puts a bullet right between the eyes of a charging wolf. Despite his solid hunting skills, Neeson is depressed because he will never see his wife again. He writes a letter to his wife before putting a gun in his mouth, but he decides to die another day (Poor Madonna reference but after her horrible halftime show performance I figured it was timely).

The movie takes off when Neeson’s plane crashes and he is left with five or six other people who survived the crash. Little do they know, they’re surrounded by wolves.

The best part about this movie was its ability to provide real terror. The Grey kept me on the edge of my seat because I felt like I was out there with Neeson and his fellow oil company workers. Those thinking that this movie will simply portray Neeson punching wolves in the face will be sadly mistaken. It’s all about the gruesome reality of group of guys being surrounded by wolves with nothing more than a stick to protect themselves.

One scene depicts a character inching across a makeshift rope with nothing but freezing water and rocks below him. The director brilliantly put the camera angle above the character to show the viewers exactly how far he would fall if he lost grip. Again I felt like I was out on the rope with this character. As I sat in a comfortable chair at the movie theater, I feared I would fall to my death (OK, it wasn’t that bad, but you get what I’m trying to say). The movie was nerve-racking because my emotions rolled along with the characters in the movie.

Neeson and his crew put forth a solid acting effort, which added to how real this movie felt. Neeson knew all these different things about wolves because he was trained to protect others from them. None of the characters did anything far-fetched to suspend the viewers’ belief.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The Grey nailed what it set out to accomplish with one key component that I can only reiterate – realism. It is clearly the best movie that came out in January 2012.

P.S. stick around after the credits.

I’ll give The Grey 4 out of 5 cups.

As of Feb. 12, The Grey made a domestic total of approximately $43 million versus a production budget of $25 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

The Grey has a rating of 77% at Rotten Tomatoes while users at the Internet Movie Database gave it 7.7 out of 10 stars.

To see the movie trailer for The Grey, click here.

Reviews for Chronicle and Safe House are on the way. I will also probably see Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D (what else) and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (hopefully not in 3D) in the next week or two.

About dukemich

Samuel L. Jackson
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