I felt Liam Neeson's character took command of the group, but he didn't give a commanding performance. He appeared to be an expert but at the same time not? I wasn't sure. Obviously he was flawed and he was dealing with his wife's death, but was it a recent death? Did we get that information? And when we figured out his wife died due to illness, did it really matter or add to the story? It didn't move me emotionally and I guess I wanted the movie to. I wanted the movie to be better than it was. The only thing that was semi cool was the ambiguous ending where you could draw your own conclusions on the outcome/fate of Liam Neeson's character and the Alpha.
My friend Joe's review:
I took it much differently. I looked at it from the dead man walking/lost warrior approach. The loss of his wife was his last connection to the world that was warm and loving. After she passed of an illness (an enemy you cannot battle as a protector) he had lost what he considered the light that kept him from the dark. He pursued a career that he was good at, being an apex predator and killing. Even with the wolves he would take his time to put his hand on them to help them pass (showing humanity and empathy for something he relates to). The reason he lived to the end and ended up at the den was because it was his fate. He struggled with his own faith and cursed God. At one point he even yelled up to the sky to give him something, anything and then he says “f it, I’ll do it myself”. He was the last to survive of the group because he was the alpha. They made mention over and over to his father’s poem about once again into the fray because it was always intended for his life to be modeled after (whether it inspired his father or his father inspired him is uncertain). In the end he became the words personified. From his childhood it was already determined. I myself, having been thoroughly immersed in budo found the message to be profound. I understand, however, how it can be lost on others.