Streaming Saturday: The Grey

People often say that Netflix Instant doesn’t carry “new” stuff. First, I don’t understand why that matters. If it is good, and you haven’t seen it, does it matter if it’s 5-10 years old? (I could understand the argument if all the content was from 1940 or something).

It also isn’t true. Netflix Instant has a number of “new” releases. “The Grey” was released in theaters not 10 months ago (from this writing, not even when it first hit Instant). The basic plot: Liam Neeson (who has a certain set of skills) faces off against a den of wolves somewhere in Alaska (4 year old political joke – you cannot see Russia at any time during the movie).

“The Grey” is very good. It keeps the tension moving throughout and makes you care about the characters. Here’s the strange thing, Neeson has somehow begun to “out Van Damme, Van Damme” in this stage of his career. “Taken,” “Taken II” and “The Grey” are all movies that could have easily been handled by a “typical” aging action star. I don’t understand what pushed Neeson over into this territory. Does his death to Darth Maul haunt him so that he needs to overcompensate ever since?

My biggest issue with the movie is that someone (random Hollywood exec, I assume) had a burning desire to change the name. There’s a poem in the movie (which carries meaning) that starts off “into the fray.” The poem is repeated a few times. “The Grey” has no meaning “The Fray” does (in context of the movie). I don’t know if that was the original title, but it would make more sense.

If you’re looking for a tension-filed movie but don’t want to go straight-up horror, give “The Grey” a look. It has characters, depth and some good action. Now, if Neeson could attack Maul like those wolves…

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