The Ice Road Parent Guide
The PG-13 levels of violence and profanity render this movie unsuitable for the only audience likely to enjoy it - nine year old boys. It's certainly too asinine for adults.
Parent Movie Review
Disaster has struck the remote Katka Diamond Mine in the northern reaches of the Canadian province of Manitoba. A methane explosion has trapped dozens of miners in a sealed tunnel with only about 30 hours of oxygen left. Without specialty equipment, there’s no way to safely extract the miners without igniting the methane. But the equipment is too heavy to move by helicopter, and there’s nowhere to land a large cargo plane close to the mine. The only way to get the equipment up there is on dangerous ice roads across frozen lakes – roads which are rapidly melting. The season for ice trucking ended five weeks ago, and it’s going to take some truly crazy people to assume the risk. In this case, that’s expert Jim Goldenrod (Laurence Fishburne), young gun Tantoo (Amber Midthunder), and veteran trucker Mike (Liam Neeson), along with Mike’s disabled but highly skilled brother Gurtie (Marcus Thomas), who will serve as the team’s mechanic. When things start going wrong, though, it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want those parts to reach the mine…and that someone is nearby.
Usually, I complain about all of Liam Neeson’s action movies being almost entirely interchangeable. In fairness, they usually are. This one is different: It’s less entertaining, for one thing. For another, it’s mostly about people driving big trucks. Those two things are closely related. Maybe I just missed out on the little boy gene for finding large motor vehicles endlessly fascinating, but it is almost unbelievably boring to watch people just…driving. Relatively slowly, too.
I’m not being completely fair here. Things do pick up a little once the plan falls apart and things (and people) start going through the ice. Unfortunately, by that point in the film you will have noticed that most of the characters are, at best, the writing equivalent of internet stock photos with neither depth nor development. That is reflected in the dialogue, which comes in two flavors - boring recycled clichés and completely inhuman nonsense. Both are bad, and they’re worse together.
“But,” I hear you cry, “Surely this is an action film! Nobody is watching this for the dialogue!” Now, I would be inclined to agree with you, but the action isn’t always great either. Sometimes it’s just stupidly preventable, like the constant fight scenes in the cab of a moving truck which could have been easily avoided if any one of our genius characters remembered that you could lock doors. Other times it’s just really, really cheap CGI, which kind of makes it look like a high budget ad for Hot Wheels.
Worst of all, at a well-earned PG-13, The Ice Road is unsuitable for the film’s target audience: nine-year-old boys. The violence is fairly mild as these things go, and there’s no sex or drug use, but there is a lot more profanity than you’re going to want to show to a fourth grader. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you’ve read all this and said “Golly, I can’t wait to watch this!” In which case, I don’t think we’re ever going to have a meeting of the minds, but I hope you have fun. One of us ought to.Directed by Jonathan Hensleigh. Starring Liam Neeson, Holt McCallany, Amber Midthunder. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release June 25, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for The Ice Road
The Ice Road
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Ice Road rated PG-13? The Ice Road is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for strong language and sequences of action and violence
Violence: Several individuals are struck in physical confrontations. Others are crushed by large objects. One person is run over. Several drown after falling through ice. One individual is impaled by a tree branch during an avalanche.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are 20 scatological curses and one sexual expletive. There are also frequent uses of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking alcohol.
Page last updated October 2, 2021
The Ice Road Parents' Guide
Corporations have a long history of unethical behavior. What are some of the most disastrous examples of corporate misbehavior? How can those be prevented? What kind of industry regulations exist to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the first place?
Did you know that there is a diamond industry in the Canadian arctic? For more information about “ice diamonds” you can click these links:
Geology.com: Diamond Mines in Canada
Canadian Geographic: Considering the Costs of Canada’s Diamonds
The New York Times: Northern Canada, the Conflict-Free Diamond Frontier
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If you’re just in this for movies about huge trucks doing insane things, you’ll almost certainly enjoy Mad Max: Fury Road. Other well-known films about big trucks include Every Which Way But Loose, Smokey and the Bandit, and the tragically bad Stephen King adaptation, Maximum Overdrive. Younger viewers may enjoy the Disney/Pixar films Cars, Cars 2, or Cars 3. If you’re more of an industrial disaster fan, you can try The 33, Deepwater Horizon, or K-19: The Widowmaker. If you’re willing to branch out into sci-fi/horror, you can find corporate malfeasance in Alien, Blade Runner, and Underwater. Of course, if you just want insane industrial stunts, there’s always Armageddon.