Liam Neeson takes a familiar ticket to ride with latest action movie entry
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth McGovern, Andy Nyman, Sam Neill, Colin McFarlane, Shazad Latif and Ella-Rae Smith
WRITER(S): Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (screenplay); Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell (book, The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made on which the film is based)
DIRECTOR(S): Jaume Collett-Serra
There’s just one problem – a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga) has just given him a curious hypothetical question to ponder: Would he help find a person on the train named Pryn in exchange for $100,000. There’s just one other little problem if he does – that person is likely going to be in a lot of trouble.
Thus, once Michael realizes the question isn’t hypothetical and the mysterious woman has now threatened his family’s safety, is watching him at all times and already exited the train, he is left with no choice but to do what she says … Unless he can find a way out.
SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? At this point in his career, you can watch about 30 seconds of a Liam Neeson trailer and nine times out of 10, you will come to the same conclusion: This is a Liam Neeson movie where Liam Neeson does Liam Neeson things – especially if someone has messed with his family. Don’t believe me? These guys immortalized Neeson before going they’re separate ways onto bigger and better things.
And there you have just about everything you need to know about The Commuter – for it is simply the latest entry into the world of movies that prove illustrate the mantra “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” … Even if the formula may finally be at its breaking point as it the time may have come for Neeson to move on to something else.
Neither Neeson nor director Jaume Collet-Serra try to reinvent the cinematic wheel at any point in The Commuter; instead, they just try to hit the usual beats in a movie of its ilk as best they can without being too insulting to the audience to try to keep most of its plausibility somewhat plausible. Neeson does his best to make Michael a classic put-upon figure forced into an impossible, damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t-situation. He’s in disbelief at first, then desperate before launching into eventual “now you’ve done it – I’m not playing your games!” mode. (He even says the line in the film, for goodness sake).
Essentially a paint-by-numbers action movie, The Commuter doesn’t make waves, it just rides along its familiar tracks for its in-and-out journey before arriving at a climax that is rather anti-climatic, all things considered. It’s not horrible by any means; it just is everything you’d expect it to be. It’s like riding a cinematic bike – even if there are times it feels like the training wheels need to come off.
It’s one thing for Liam Neeson’s action movies to be immortalized in a Key & Peele sketch; it’s another thing for his movies to almost feel like they have become a parody of their selves. Thus, while the ride isn’t quite bumpy, it’s not quite that smooth, either … That is, unless, you’ve become so accustomed to it all you care about is getting home at the end of the day.