The Grey (15)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney

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The Independent Culture

Joe Carnahan and Liam Neeson last worked together on The A-Team, so no great hopes were pinned on this tough-guy wilderness yarn.

But it turns out to be a belter. Neeson plays a man whose death wish seems to have been answered when the plane carrying him and other oil-rig roughnecks goes down in the snowy wastes of Alaska. He and a handful of survivors stumble from the wreckage, and soon realise they're not going to be rescued. The cold is bad enough; worse is the local company of wolves, led by a howling alpha wolf that looks about 10ft tall, with fangs like pointed tombstones. Oo-er!

Can Neeson lead his team of freezing comrades out of this barren kill zone? He gets full marks for effort, as do the cast of unknowns and half-forgottens (Dermot Mulroney?) who follow his lead. OK, we could have done without his Irish boozer of a dad's four-line poem (third and fourth line repeated) and the macho cackling in the face of adversity, but within its generic limits it delivers fabulous thrills and some surprisingly noble death scenes.