I have family members who are truck drivers and let me tell you…it’s not an easy life. Not with all the crazy drivers out there, or the long hours. Luckily, these family members never had to deal with dangerous conditions of Canada’s famous Ice Road.
The Ice Road
The Ice Road is a 2021 action thriller written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh. It stars Liam Neeson, Laurence Fishburne, Benjamin Walker, Amber Midthunder, and Marcus Thomas. Canada is known for its diamond mining business and those mines can be dangerous, especially if the manager in charge of the mines is trying to cut corners by skimping of safety protocol.
When a mine collapses in Manitoba, trapping dozens of workers, a call is put out for a wellhead to allow the rescue of the trapped men. This trip over the ice road is a dangerous trek even in the coldest part of winter because trucks have to travel over naturally frozen lakes. Most of the tuck routes over these frozen lakes are only used in winter, but this mining accident happens in April when the ice is not thick enough to support trucks. This doesn’t stop Mike McCann (Liam Neeson) from volunteering for the mission. Mike needs the money to buy his own truck. He recently lost a job hauling because of a fight he has with fellow truckers who were teasing his Iraq veteran brother, Gurty (Marcus Thomas). Gurty suffers from PTSD and aphasia, but he is a top mechanic.
Three trucks form the convoy with three drivers which includes Mike and Gurty, Jim Goldenrod (Laurence Fishburne), and Tantoo (Amber Midthunder) who has a personal stake in getting the needed equipment to the mines because her brother is one of the trapped miners. Tantoo has a company man (Benjamin Walker) riding with her.
Is there a real Ice Road, and does the film come close to the reality show, Ice Road Truckers? There is a real ice road in Canada, and it has a story of its own. There is a real ice road that services diamond mines in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The ice road is open briefly every year between February and March.
The ice is rigorously tested before the route is used to make sure the road is safe for travel. They use a Swedish Hagglund, fully amphibious truck with sonar that can float if it goes through the ice. The ice must be at least 29 inches for trucks to travel safely. The road is 250 miles and is built over 64 frozen lakes. The maximum speed limit is 15mph. Every year the initial road construction begins in December. Truckers share the road with caribou and wolves.
The Ice Road really gets interesting when we realize that there is a saboteur in the convoy who is intent on keeping the convoy from reaching the miners…and of course, Liam Neeson steps up to the challenge of saving the day. I truly enjoyed this film, and you can watch it on Netflix.