Action Movie Fanatix Review: The Grey

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for The Grey

Live Or Die On This Day

Starring: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, James Badge Dale

Director: Joe Carnahan

2012  |  117 Minutes  |  Rated R

“I am going to start beating the shit out of you in the next five seconds and you are going to swallow a lot of blood for a billfold.” – John Ottway

When their plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, seven oil workers and huntsman John Ottway must fight the elements and a hungry pack of wolves in their quest to survive.

The Grey is one of those movies that I had intended to see for quite some time.  I had heard good things but there always seemed to be something else that I watched, some good, some very bad.

The movie opens with some brief introductions to a few of the characters, mostly focusing on Liam Neeson’s John Ottway.  We don’t get much though.  We just get a taste of what his character is like as a person.  Then they hop on a plane and the rest of the movie commences.  The plane crash is REALLY intense but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The scenery of the Alaskan wilderness is really beautiful in a holy crap, I’m glad I’m not there kinda way.  Director Joe Carnahan does a fantastic job capturing this feeling.  I almost felt bad watching The Grey in front my gas fireplace turned all the way up.

The CGI wolves, on the other hand, were about the level of the 300 wolf.  They weren’t great.  And many of their various wolf sounds felt manufactured too.  The howls sounded like I had just pushed a button on a sound board at the zoo and the growls were like some otherworldly monster.  When these fake wolves are the main antagonists of your movie, viewers are going to have a bit of a problem believing the danger of the characters’ dire situation.


Liam Neeson again proves that he is a different breed of badass.  He doesn’t need huge muscles of the ‘80s action star.  He’s just perfect for the everyman who always manages to have a particular set of skills needed for each situation.

The Grey isn’t a hugely emotional journey but when it does actually grab you on an emotional level it’s just depressing.  There seems to be ZERO hope for these guys and they are dropping off one by one.

The Grey has a lot going for it.  Excellent direction, setting, action, unpredictability… but those dang CGI wolves really let things down.  This movie was made in 2012.  There should be no excuse for CGI this bad and for its poor execution to single-handedly be the downfall of the entire film, but it is with The Grey.


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