I'm not the biggest Liam Neeson fan. He's good at delivering menacing or poetical lines but there has always been something about how he delivers those lines and holds himself that i've found off-putting. As if there's no actual emotional weight behind any of it. His choices of roles in the past several years have annoyed me as well. "Yeah, i'll be a Lion who is actually Jesus and Zeus. Sure." I was also not as enthralled by Taken as most were. There was definitely some good bad-assary but the script was just not there. Especially considering the entire movie was marketed and sold on a single line of dialogue. That bugs the crap out of me.
I loved The Grey though. The story of a group of oil company employees whose plane crashes on their way home from working in northern Alaska. Neeson's character Ottway uses his superior knowhow to assume leadership of the group and together they try to survive in a frozen wasteland with almost no food or water to speak of. Oh right, and the wolves. There are wolves. A bunch of them. They are an ever-present danger. Just outside the group's range of sight for almost the entire film. Created using an extremely subtle combination of CGI and Animatronics, the wolves look great and are more than suitably intimidating.
This movie has come under a lot of fire from animal rights groups for portraying wolves in a negative light, as bloodthirsty man-eating monsters. I don't believe that's true. There are comments made in the film about how wolves normally avoid all contact with humans but if any intruders, human or not, are within a 30 mile radius of their den the wolves will flat out kill all of them. I don't know if this is true or not. However if it isn't I still don't see the problem. The wolves are still being portrayed as following their nature and defending their territory. I never once felt as though any of the animals were "evil" or attempting to kill the humans out of malice or for pleasure.
This is the first of directer Joe Carnahan's films to really hit me. 2010's The A-Team was a ton of fun, just like it's predecessor Smokin' Aces. The Grey goes much deeper than either however. There is action and adventure. But there is also a group of men finding out who they really are and how they view our world, nature and faith. And then one by one dying horribly.