Since he appeared in Taken and proved to the world that his right hook can make jawbones an endangered species, Liam Neeson has found himself being cast in a number of roles requiring him to dole out haymaker after haymaker to anyone who gets in his god-damn way. Which is why some audiences were more than a little disappointed when The Grey, a film in which Neeson has to fend off a pack of wolves with his bare hands, didn’t end with a montage of the ageing actor delivering endless elbow drops to lupine jugulars. Apparently though, footage of that exact scenario does exist, we’re just not allowed to see it. In case you’re wondering, yes this post contains spoilers.
To remind anyone who may have forgotten or doesn’t own the Blu-ray and play it on repeat like us, The Grey ends with John Ottway (Neeson’s character) charging at a really pissed off alpha wolf that has been trying to nibble on his butthole for three days with a knife and three broken bottle duct taped to his fists. Before even a single dropkick is shown, the screen abruptly cuts to black. Which is kind of annoying because holy shit, Liam Neeson was just about to try and stab a wolf with his fists.
While there is an ambiguous post-credit scene which shows Neeson’s character and the wolf locked in a tender, post-knife-fight embrace with the fate of neither being immediately clear, some fans were still a little miffed that the fight itself was never shown. Something that is totally understandable when you realise that the trailer kind of suggested that the film itself was going to be a little more, Takenish. Hell, we’d hazard a guess that 50% of the people who went to see the film were entirely convinced to do so by the image of Liam Neeson preparing to uppercut the fuck out of a wolf and that’s the very last thing the film ever shows.
If you happen to be one of those pissed off fans then we’re sorry, because your day is about to get a whole lot worse. Why? well according to The Grey’s director, Joe Carnahan, he totally filmed a scene in which Neeson fights the alpha but didn’t want to include it because he felt like it didn’t add anything to the film. Even though a scene in which Liam Neeson fights anything usually adds at least 10% to any film on Metacritic.
In Carnahan’s own words, he felt that the scene just before Neeson straps broken bottles to his fist, in which he mournfully picks up the wallets of the friends he lost on his arctic adventure, was the “emotional climax” of the film and that adding in something as silly as the main character of the film kicking a wolf in the dick for 18 minutes straight was something audiences wouldn’t want to see. Which would be a perfectly reasonable explanation if it wasn’t for the fact that the one, major complaint test audiences had with the film was that it didn’t show the fight.
Despite overwhelming feedback from test audiences that they wanted a sick deathmatch between Bryan Mills and an angry wolf to be the ending of the movie instead of a depressing shitshow where it’s revealed the main character’s wife is dying of a terminal illness (something that’s made all the more depressing when you realise Liam Neeson’s actual wife died in real life a few years ago). Carnahan stuck to his guns and refused to change the ending.
But here’s where things get really annoying, Carnahan mentioned in several interviews that the alternate ending he filmed where Neeson fights the alpha wolf would be included as a deleted scene on the DVD. However, when the DVD was released the following year, the scene wasn’t present, then, presumably as a final fuck you to everyone hankering for some Neeson on wolf action, Carnahan went ahead and tweeted a screenshot of a preliminary storyboard from the fight showing Neeson’s character punching the alpha in the dickhole. Seemingly just to tease us about how cool the scene could have been if he’d bothered to include it in the DVD extras.
So, if you ever happen to watch The Grey again, just remember that the only reason it doesn’t end with Liam Neeson suplexing a wolf to death is because the director felt that it was unnecessary. Which is disappointing because it probably means he won’t be interested in our pitch for a sequel starring a 30ft tall CGI Liam Neeson riding a giant wolf made of other wolves into heaven to beat up God and bring his wife back.