The Ice Road Is a Total Dad Movie

Netflix should have released The Ice Road on Fathers Day, because it’s a capital-D Dad Movie. Much like Ford v. Ferrari (a clearly far superior movie), with the shared subject of automobiles, director Jonathan Hensleigh’s The Ice Road isn’t a four-quadrant movie, but probably lands a knockout with 40-60-year-old men. 

The premise—a mining accident in Manitoba has doomed 26 men to asphyxiation unless a few trucks can make a multi-day journey across man-made, 30-inch ice roads with three wellheads weighing a few dozen tons each without breaking the ice and drowning—does a lot to target the older masculine audience, along with the cast led by Liam Neeson and aided by Laurence Fishburne. Only one woman has a speaking role (Amber Midthunder as Tantoo), semi-trucks explode, and rural masculine (in one case, former service member) ice truckers play the role of heroes. Think Ice Road Truckers meets The 33

The humor is also a bit dad-like, a bit predictable a little too insensitive for most millennials’ likings. What Tantoo’s name means in her Cree culture, for example, becomes a punchline that doesn’t quite land. (Admittedly, the character making the joke ends up being the antagonist—and thus, the insensitive humor, at least in this instance, might actually work in the film’s favor.) Pet rat Skeeter (more on him later) bites the same antagonist later, somehow stunning him enough for Tantoo to take control of the violent situation. The rat’s nibble bedazing a full-grown man plays like a comedic break of action… but it only breaks the action. The jokes simply don’t work; perhaps a few ice-related puns would have fared better. 

Continue reading at the Boston Hassle.

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