Ice Road (The) (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Signature Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (17th November 2021).
The Film

Action star, and all around legend, Liam Neeson (Taken) joins forces with Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) in this edge of your seat, icy thriller from the prolific action writer of Armageddon and Die Hard with a Vengeance.

After a remote diamond mine collapses in far northern Canada, a 'big-rig' ice road driver (Neeson) must lead an impossible and deadly rescue mission over a frozen ocean to save the trapped miners. Contending with thawing waters and a massive storm, they discover the real threat is one they never saw coming.

This is Die Hard on ice!

Also starring Amber Midthunder (Legion) The Ice Road was written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh (The Punisher).

Video

Entertaining hybrid of disaster film, extreme weather survival thriller and action caper with Liam Neeson and Lurence Fishburne headlining. A solid film well worth a view.

According to IMDB the technical specifications for The Ice Road are:

Camera: Arri Alexa Mini LF, Zeiss Master Anamorphic Lenses.
Negative Format: Codex ARRIRAW (4.5K).
Cinematographic Processes: Digital Intermediate (4K) (master format), Master Scope (anamorphic) (source format).
Printed Film Format: Video (UHD).

Cool settings and largely a cold colour palette of whites, cool blues and steely grays are the order of the day in most scenes although some interiors favour warm browns and oranges by way of contrast. Flesh tones are chilly as befitting the setting! Delineation is good but to an old film buff born in 1967 the digital look stands out; I love the look and feel of photochemical film. Grain is minimal and generally very fine and well encoded.

Black levels are spot on with plenty of shadow detail and contrast is satisfying; dynamic range is pleasing. It's a bright film with plenty of snowy landscapes which challenge the encode but with no blown out highlights. Detail is generally good but could've been improved by using a BD50 and a higher bitrate but it's still a strong transfer of a new film ('A').

1080/24p / AVC MPEG-4 / BD25 / 2.39:1 / 109:06

Audio

English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English LPCM 2.0 Surround (48K)
Subtitles: English HoH

Plenty of ambiance in the surround channels and the score gets around the sound field nicely. LFE is exceptional especially when ice cracks and groans and the score gets menacing; the scene where a truck breaks through the ice and drags a character to their doom is especially noteworthy. Dialogue is always clear. Perhaps not quite in the Bond film league and a Dolby Atmos version would certainly go along way to address the disparity. But, this is virtually a demo-level track ('A').

Extras

Startup Trailers:
- Honest Thief (2:15)
- Bull (1:47)


Standard promos for other Signature Entertainment releases presented in 1080/24p 2.39:1 with uncompressed LPCM 2.0 Surround (48K).

Packaging

Standard blue Blu-ray Keepcase.

Overall

A grand, entertaining genre hybrid of disaster and action gets a very strong presentation with great image and sound quality. Sadly, no extras to speak of in a barebones release. The only way to improve this would be an UHD BD release (the film was shot in 4.5K) with a much higher bitrate and Dolby Atmos. Still, a decent release reasonably priced.

The Film: B+ Video: A Audio: A Extras: E+ Overall: B-

 


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