Review: The Commuter

The Commuter
6 10

PLOT: Sixty years old, deep in debt and newly laid-off, a former cop-turned-insurance salesman (Liam Neeson) is approached on the commuter train by a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga), who offers him a tidy sum of cash if he’ll help identify an unknown passenger with a secret. Before he can turn her down, it’s revealed that his family is in jeopardy and his only hope of saving them is by cooperating in this deadly game.

REVIEW: Liam Neeson is fast becoming our generation’s Charles Bronson. I’m not sure that’s a huge compliment, considering how, prior to TAKEN, he was considered one of the world’s great actors. He still is, but now that he’s become so in-demand as an action hero, he’s been devoting his time to a long run of mid-level actioners (similar to the kind Bronson churned-out in his Cannon days), most of which have been pretty bad. Luckily, his COMMUTER-director, Jaume Collet-Serra, while guilty of his share of not-great Neeson vehicles (UNKNOWN & RUN ALL NIGHT) also directed one of the better ones, NON-STOP, and THE COMMUTER clearly takes that film’s lead, being more of a Hitchcockian thriller than a full-on action flick. Well, at least until the last act…

Neeson deserves credit for still showing his chops as an action hero, even as he gets older. He still acquits himself really well in the hand-to-hand scraps, with this having three good ones, and for once plays a character that’s actually close to his age. His prowess is explained away by having him be an ex-cop who quit the force to please his family, with his wife played by “Downton Abbey’s” Elizabeth McGovern.

The supporting cast is fairly strong in this one, with Vera Farmiga as the mystery lady, while her CONJURING co-star, Patrick Wilson, is on-board as Neeson’s ex-partner. The great Sam Neill also turns up in a too-small role as their mysterious captain. Given the chance he could probably give Neeson a run for his money in the older-guy action department. Jonathan Banks also pops up in a handful of scenes seemingly playing Mike from “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul”, with his co-star in the latter, Michael Mando, having a blink-and-you’ll miss it cameo as a photo on the front page of a newspaper (Collet-Serra’s nod to Hitchcock’s LIFEBOAT?).

Collet-Serra has fun with the Hitchcock vibe, using the claustrophobic train to solid effect. For the most part, this is a relatively low-key thriller, although in the last act it goes for a bigger, disaster-movie vibe that’s heavy on the CGI, providing most of the eye candy you see in the trailer. A quieter wrap-up might have been more effective, but I guess at this point Neeson’s fans have their expectations.

Overall, THE COMMUTER is a fun January flick, and it ranks well in the pantheon of Neeson action flicks – although again, other than the first TAKEN, THE GREY and perhaps A WALK AMONG TOMBSTONES, were any of them especially good? This is a solid B-level thriller, and should please his fans, even if it’s unlikely to kick around in your head for very long after you leave the theater. It’s disposable, but fun.

Source: JoBlo.com



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