Just to shake things up and/or keep the fans off-balance, Liam Neeson has done a movie that may — I say “may” — play above and beyond the level of a typical post-Taken Neeson paycheck venture. And director-cowriter Joe Carnahan, having all but devalued his once respectable brand with Smokin’ Aces and The A Team, is trying his hand with a rugged survival-in-the-wilderness story.

The Grey (Open Road, 1.27.12) is about a bunch of guys stranded in Alaska after a plane crash, and trying like hell not to become wolf food. I don’t know how many guys are in the group, but if you’ve seen The Edge you know there’s a kind of whammy-chart predictability with this sort of thing. The formula says that Neeson will be the last man standing at the finale, un-eaten and unbowed.

I don’t want to see any CG wolves in this thing. By this I mean CG wolves that grab you by the shoulders and shout, “This is a CG wolf!”…okay?