Okay, it's still January and I really don't expect to see any really good new release films. Take a deep breath... exhale. I must remember these films are generally the crap studios are merely experimenting with. Okay...


And so it continues with Liam Neeson's latest action flick. Once again he teams up with director Joe Carnahan ("The A-Team") in an actioner sans an all-star support cast. Instead he is teamed with an ensemble of second tier actors with such great lines like, "I don't have fear in me."


We'll call this group The B-Team. They are expendable, much like the no-name crewman who beamed down with the stars of the original Star Trek series. You remember him... the guy who got turned into a cube of salt, or harpooned by the giant cavemen, or got the salt sucked out of him, or... you get the idea.

Neeson is Ottway, a hunter stationed at a far Northern Alaska oil drilling camp. His job is simple, keep the ample number of wolves from eating the riggers. And, with rifle in hand, he's pretty good at it even if the wolves are the giant demonic wolves never before seen anywhere.


After finishing up a stint, Ottway and a couple dozen riggers board a plane heading back to Anchorage, presumably for a break; that part isn't clear. But it is clear that they are traveling in poor weather and that the pilot decided to fly anyway though it would be through a perpetual storm. naturally, the plane crashes.


Also, naturally Ottway and six others survive the crash in fairly decent shape save for a couple of cuts and bruises. But unfortunately they have landed in the middle of wolf country - big, demonic wolf country. Oh, I forgot to mention that these are cunning, calculating, super-intelligent wolves that are lead by a super-intelligent Alpha wolf who is twice the size of the rest... which would make him a super-sized demonic wolf.


The nearly two hour film will feature the wolves, cunningly hunting down the oilmen one-by-one.

The only chance the oilmen have is to run for the tree line to better defend themselves. Now don't ask me why they think the wolves won't be able to eat them in the woods as easily as they are eating them in the open... but that is the plan Ottway devises. He should know, because he hunts the wolves on a daily basis and knows how they operate.


So after some internal bickering, the other oilmen follow Ottway into the woods and... the wolves follow them. Lots of wolves; enough wolves that there is no reason to attack the oilmen one-by-one, they could do it all at once with ease.


But that would greatly shorten the length of the film to, oh... let's say 35 minutes.


In the meantime, Ottway has a recurring dream about his late wife and reflects on a poem his father taught him as a child.


In 1997, Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin starred in "The Edge" about a plane that goes down in the Alaskan wilderness and has the survivors pursued by a Kodiak bear. Hmm, boy does that sound familiar? You bet, only it was better.


"The Grey" is actually what I expected, a chronology of men getting eaten by giant demonic wolves of super intelligence. It doesn't waver off that theme until the very annoying end two hours later.   -- GEOFF BURTON