Liam Neeson might be surprised that people keep offering him action movies, but he really shouldn’t be when audiences clearly love watching them. Not content with being the only actor to headline two number-one box office hits since the start of the pandemic era, the 69-year-old’s latest thriller The Ice Road has topped the Netflix most-watched list only 24 hours after premiering.
This was to be expected given Neeson’s standing as the genre’s respected elder statesman, not to mention the fact that several titles from his back catalogue have all drawn in strong numbers on the streaming service. The Ice Road was originally scheduled for a theatrical release – and is getting one internationally – but the company’s decision to spend $18 million on securing the domestic distribution rights is well on its way to being vindicated.
Admittedly, reviews haven’t been enthusiastic across the board, with Jonathan Hensleigh’s first directorial effort in ten years currently holding a middling Rotten Tomatoes score of 45% with an audience rating just a touch higher at 46%. That being said, fans know exactly what they’re getting into when they see Neeson’s name slapped all over the promotional materials for a mid-budget genre film, so The Ice Road was always going to play well on the world’s most popular platform.
The “race against time” element of the plot adds a fresh dimension to the standard Liam Neeson formula, even if you can predict the majority of the biggest story points coming from a mile off. To be fair, The Ice Road never promised to be high art and delivers exactly what you want to see from one of the modern era’s most accomplished action heroes.