The Ice Road

The Ice Road is a 2021 American action thriller film[5] written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh. The film stars Liam Neeson[6] as Mike McCann, and Laurence Fishburne as Jim Goldenrod with Benjamin Walker, Amber Midthunder, Marcus Thomas, Holt McCallany, Martin Sensmeier, Matt McCoy, and Matt Salinger in supporting roles. It marks Hensleigh's first film since 2011's Kill the Irishman. It follows a team of truck drivers on a dangerous mission over frozen lakes and winter roads to deliver a crucial component to save workers trapped in a collapsed diamond mine.[5] The film was digitally released by Netflix in the United States and Canada, and by Amazon Prime Video in the United Kingdom on June 25, 2021. The film received mixed reviews from critics.

The Ice Road
Official promotional poster
Directed byJonathan Hensleigh
Written byJonathan Hensleigh
Produced by
CinematographyTom Stern[2]
Edited byDouglas Crise
Music byMax Aruj
  • CODE Entertainment
  • ShivHans Pictures
  • The Solution Entertainment Group
  • Envision Media Arts
  • Aperture Media Partners
  • Manitoba Film & Music
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • June 25, 2021 (2021-06-25)
Running time
108 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States
Box office$7.502.846[4]


An explosion at a mine in Manitoba traps 26 miners. Mike McCann and his brother Gurty, an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD and aphasia, work for a trucking company in North Dakota until Mike punches another trucker for making fun of Gurty's cognitive disability, and they are both fired. Mike hears about ice road truckers needed in Winnipeg, and they apply. Jim Goldenrod, another trucker, agrees to lead a rescue mission to deliver wellheads to the mine. He hires McCann and Gurty, along with a young Indigenous woman known only as Tantoo. Also joining the rescue mission is actuary Varnay, responsible for insurance risk assessment for Katka, the company which owns the mine. $200,000 is split between the four truckers, which will be redistributed among the survivors if anyone dies. Meanwhile, the miners are communicating with Katka executives using Tap code, and Katka General Manager Sickle transmits a message that they plan to free the men by blasting a tunnel.

The team leaves for the mine with three wellheads. During the trip, Goldenrod's engine seizes. While attempting to repair it, the ice beneath his trailer breaks and his leg gets trapped. Knowing he can't escape, he convinces Tantoo to sever the strap attaching him to the truck, causing him to drown but saving the other two rigs and wellheads. In an attempt to flee the rapidly approaching pressure wave and cracking ice, the remaining two trucks fishtail and roll over, stopping the pressure wave.

Varnay convinces Mike to accuse Tantoo of sabotaging Goldenrod's rig, but Tantoo reveals her brother Cody is amongst the miners. When they continue to interrogate her, she pulls out a pistol, but Gurty disarms her and ties her up. After the men right the trucks, Varnay locks Mike and Gurty in the back of their rig. Varnay is revealed to have been the one who sabotaged Goldenrod's rig, and knocks Tantoo unconscious. He rigs Mike's truck with dynamite and drives off with Tantoo, but Mike and Gurty escape from the trailer and throw the dynamite away just before it explodes. Varnay watches the explosion from afar, believing that Mike and Gurty are dead.

While winching their trailer out of the ice, Gurty tries to warn Mike the winch will fail, but Mike starts the machine anyway. The winch snaps, causing Gurty and the trailer to fall into the water, but Mike rescues Gurty. Varnay meets with Sickle, telling him Mike and Gurty have died. Sickle instructs Varnay to get rid of Tantoo and the last remaining wellhead by making it seem Tantoo lost control and veered off a cliff. Varnay prepares to kill Tantoo, but is bitten by Gurty's pet rat Skeeter, enabling Tantoo to throw him out of the rig. Mike and Gurty arrive and kill the Katka contractors pursuing Tantoo.

After Tantoo runs out of fuel due to Varnay disconnecting her fuel equalizer, he catches up to her, but Mike crashes his rig into Varnay's truck, sending it off a cliff. Varnay survives and creates an avalanche with dynamite. Mike and Gurty escape, but Tantoo is hit by snow and wounded by a branch. They uncouple her trailer, and drive off with the wellhead. Varnay pursues them in Tantoo's rig and begins ramming them. Mike boards Varnay's rig and both fall from the truck. After a struggle, Mike attempts to drive away, but Varnay climbs onto the rig. Mike knocks Varnay out, accelerates the rig, and jumps out, causing it to fall through the surface and kill Varnay. Meanwhile, Tantoo and Gurty cross a bridge not designed for the weight of the truck, and barely make it over before the bridge collapses. After crossing, the truck starts sliding backwards, and Gurty is crushed trying to prevent the truck from falling. Mike arrives and comforts a dying Gurty. Mike and Tantoo arrive just in time to rescue the miners. After learning the truth, the Katka CEO fires Sickle, who is arrested for his actions.

Three months later, Tantoo is seen working in Goldenrod's garage as a mechanic. Mike visits her in his new gold truck, which he drives as an independent contractor to deliver sporting goods. As he drives off, he is seen tending to Skeeter and his license plate reads "TRK TRK TRK", in honor of Gurty's chosen name for a truck.



Filming occurred in Winnipeg in February 2020.[7] Filming also occurred in Île-des-Chênes[8] and Gimli, Manitoba.[9][10]


The Ice Road: Music from and Inspired by the Netflix Film
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedJune 25, 2021 (2021-06-25)
GenreRock, country, Americana[11]
LabelBig Machine
Singles from The Ice Road: Music from and Inspired by the Netflix Film
  1. "I've Been Everywhere"
    Released: May 21, 2021
  2. "We Got Fight"
    Released: May 26, 2021

Hensleigh asked Big Machine Records to create a multi-genre soundtrack album for the film.[11] Scott Borchetta, founder of the record label, wanted a psychobilly song as the basis for the soundtrack, and contacted Nikki Sixx to executively produce.[12] As a result, Nikki Sixx formed supergroup L.A. Rats along with Rob Zombie, John 5 and Tommy Clufetos, and they released a cover version of "I've Been Everywhere" as a single on May 21, 2021.[13] "We Got Fight", which was released on May 26, is Gary LeVox's debut solo single and plays over the film's end credits.[11][14] The album also contains covers of songs by Johnny Cash, The Cars, Dave Dudley, Hank Snow, and Kathy Mattea.[11]

The Ice Road: Music from and Inspired by the Netflix Film track listing[11][15]
1."All I Do Is Drive" (Johnny Cash cover)Jason Isbell2:50
2."Rubber Meets the Road"Brantley Gilbert and Tyler Hubbard2:34
3."Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses" (Kathy Mattea cover)Carly Pearce3:12
4."I've Been Everywhere" (Hank Snow cover)L.A. Rats3:59
5."We Got Fight"Gary LeVox3:34
6."I'm Movin' On" (Hank Snow cover)Miranda Lambert3:11
7."Six Days on the Road" (Dave Dudley cover)The Cadillac Three2:50
8."Don't Come Lookin'"Jackson Dean3:07
9."Hurricane"Luke Combs3:43
10."Heart Made of Steel"The Assassinzs featuring John Carter Cash and Robin Zander4:35
11."All Coming Down"Mark Collie and Allison Moorer3:13
12."Drive" (The Cars cover)Tim McGraw3:58


In March 2021, Netflix acquired the U.S. distribution rights to the film for $18 million,[16] and it was digitally released on the service on June 25, 2021.[17] It was the most-streamed film on the service in its debut weekend.[18] Distributors will vary in other countries, including Amazon Prime Video in the United Kingdom.[6]


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 44% based on 89 reviews, with an average rating of 4.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Liam Neeson remains a top-tier action hero; unfortunately, like a number of his recent genre outings, The Ice Road is a downhill trundle paved with predictability."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 42 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[20]

Alonso Duralde of the TheWrap criticized the "downright laughable VFX" and wrote: "The Ice Road is so often inept and heavy-handed that not even the reliable presence of Liam Neeson can rescue it."[21]


In April 2023, it was announced a sequel titled Ice Road 2: Road to the Sky would be produced with star Liam Neeson and writer/director Jonathan Hensleigh set to return.[22] The sequel will follow Mike McCann who honors his late brother's last wish by traveling to Nepal to scatter his ashes on Mt. Everest. While on a tour bus traversing the deadly 12,000 ft. terrain of the infamous Road to the Sky, Mike and his mountain guide encounter a group of Nepalese mercenaries and must fight not only to save themselves and the busload of innocent travelers, but also the local villagers’ homeland.[22] The following month, it was announced that Amazon Prime Video was slated to pre-buy international rights (with the exception of Germany) for $17 million.[23]


  1. ^ King, Randall (6 December 2019). "Neeson to star in Manitoba-staged film". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  2. ^ King, Randall (16 March 2020). "Ice Road production keeps on truckin'". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  3. ^ "The Ice Road". Netflix. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  4. ^ The Ice Road at Box Office Mojo
  5. ^ a b "The Ice Road". British Board of Film Classification. THE ICE ROAD is a US action thriller in which a driver leads a rescue mission over frozen ocean in Manitoba, Canada, following the collapse of a mine.
  6. ^ a b Ritman, Alex (10 November 2019). "AFM: Liam Neeson's 'Ice Road' Thriller Goes Global". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  7. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (20 February 2020). "'The Ice Road': First Look At Liam Neeson In Action Rescue Mission Movie Currently Shooting In Canada – EFM". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  8. ^ Hendricks, Jon (12 February 2020). "Liam Neeson movie shooting in Ile des Chenes, Man". CTV News. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  9. ^ "'I'm still floating around': Liam Neeson superfan hunts down film star in Manitoba". 21 February 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  10. ^ Unger, Danton (31 January 2020). "Liam Neeson in Winnipeg for movie filming in Manitoba". CTV News. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Big Machine Records Hits the Ice Road with All-Genre Soundtrack for the Upcoming Netflix Film". Nashville: uDiscoverMusic. May 19, 2021. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  12. ^ Schube, Will (May 22, 2021). "The 'Ice Road' Soundtrack Debuts Rock Supergroup L.A. Rats". uDiscoverMusic. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  13. ^ "ROB ZOMBIE, NIKKI SIXX, JOHN 5 SUPERGROUP: HEAR L.A. RATS' DEBUT SONG". 21 May 2021. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  14. ^ "We Got Fight – Single by Gary LeVox on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  15. ^ McGraw, Tim [@TheTimMcGraw] (June 4, 2021). "Excited to be a part of the official soundtrack for this one" (Tweet). Retrieved June 6, 2021 – via Twitter.
  16. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (March 1, 2021). "Netflix Swoops On Liam Neeson Action Pic 'The Ice Road' In Record $18M EFM Domestic Deal". Deadline. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  17. ^ Gawley, Paige (June 16, 2021). "Liam Neeson on If He's Planning to Step Away From Action Movies (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  18. ^ Tom Brueggemann (June 29, 2021). "'Cruella' Takes the 'Mugen Train' on 'The Ice Road': VOD Diversity Dominates the Movie Business". IndieWire. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  19. ^ "The Ice Road (2021)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 7, 2022.
  20. ^ "The Ice Road Reviews". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  21. ^ Duralde, Alsonso (June 25, 2021). "'The Ice Road' Film Review: Liam Neeson Hauls a Load of Action Clichés". TheWrap. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  22. ^ a b Wiseman, Andreas (April 27, 2023). "Liam Neeson Heads For The Himalayas In Action Sequel 'Ice Road 2: Road To The Sky'; The Solution & CAA Media Finance Launch For Cannes Market". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 27, 2023.
  23. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (May 24, 2023). "Liam Neeson Action Sequel 'Ice Road 2' Heading To Amazon For Around $17M In Biggest Deal Thrashed Out At This Year's Cannes Market So Far". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 27, 2023.

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