We all know the drill by now. Liam Neeson is a grizzled elder statesmen with a particular set of skills and he will do anything to seek justice or protect his family. Sometimes it makes for some pretty exhilarating entertainment. Other times, not so much. In The Commuter, Neeson reunites with Director Jaume Collet-Serra (Run All Night, Non-Stop, Unknown) for more of the same.
Neeson plays Michael MacCauley, a grizzled former cop with a particular set of skills who will do anything to protect his family. After being laid off from his job in life insurance, he encounters a mysterious woman named Joanna (Vera Farmiga) on his train ride home. She offers him $10,000 to find and execute an unknown criminal witness before the train ride can come to an end. With no phone and his family held hostage, he must decide to go through with the plan or attempt to save the witness and the rest of the passengers.
Yes, Liam Neeson is doing the same thing he always does. But, here, it’s pretty entertaining. The movie plays out more like a mystery than an action thriller, with several suspects laid out for the audience to try and sift through along with his character. And unlike in many of his previous films, Neeson’s character feels much more vulnerable both physically and emotionally, which makes for much more intriguing action.
The plot and many of the action sequences are over the top. And some of it is far too similar to Non-Stop. There is also a plot hole here and there. But the players involved make The Commuter worth the ride if you don’t take it too seriously. If you’ve grown tired of these types of films, by all means pass this one by. But if seeing Liam Neeson saddle up for another wild scenario makes you sit on the edge of your seat, the many twists and turns in this movie will definitely keep you enthralled from start to finish.
FINAL GRADE: B