Liam Neeson. Usually those two words are enough to make any action film worth watching, however, there’s only so much one man can do in a film that is lacking in many areas.
Liam Neeson plays Ottway, a wolf killer who protects oil workers from ambitious wolves and is thoroughly dissatisfied with life. This is shown in a somewhat rapid montage of him insulting his co-workers, stroking his inexplicably young partner who left him, and putting a gun in his mouth, all happening uneasily quickly. Thankfully, he manages to perk up in time for his plane home to crash in the middle of nowhere, killing all but 7 of the passengers and also creating an absurd scene where Neeson runs through the wreckage to get a hat for no discernable reason. After Neeson finds his accessory, he discovers a wolf eating one of the carcasses and comes to the conclusion that they’ve crashed in their territory. The wolves aren’t too happy about this, a fact they prove by systematically munching the survivors.
A generic survival film ensues: morality choices, ego clashes and a good chance for Neeson to have his usual deep-voiced bouts of wisdom, battling against Frank Grillo (Diaz) as the antagonist. With this also comes the standard absurdity, such as Neeson jumping into a ice-cold river and not suffering ill effects. In addition, he seems to have god-like amounts of energy with a minimal food supply and a wolf-nibbled thigh.
However, the main problem is that the time taken to throw the characters into the desperate situation is so short, there was minimal character development of everyone apart from Ottway. This creates an uneasy situation where the characters are so under-developed that when one dies you feel no empathy, and by the time the film has a chance to develop the last survivors, it was too little.
To give the film credit, the suspense is kept up with the brilliant FX work and there are enough surprises to keep you entertained along the way. Nonetheless, overall the writing was too lacklustre and too much attention was focused on the struggle as opposed to the characters to make it worthwhile.