More Taken. On a train.
Insurance salesman Michael (Liam Neeson) takes the same commute each and every day. He sees the same people, has the same interactions, notices the same things, and mostly, doesn’t come through with any surprises. But for some reason, today is very different. For one, he loses his job that he’s been depending on for so very long and is now distraught over what to do next, or where to go. Then, he gets on the train and notices a passenger (Vera Farmiga) that he’s truly never seen before. He strikes up a conversation with her, gets to know her, and well, it turns out that she has a mission for him: Find a bag with $1 million and he can get half of it. If he doesn’t do that, his wife and kid will be in danger. Michael doesn’t have much time to think of what’s the next best step, so he starts looking around at each person on the train, watching them a bit closer to see if they’re the ones with the money and eventually ask them what the hell is going on.
That is, before the train eventually derails.
So yeah, the Commuter is another one of Liam Neeson’s silly B-movies that have the look and feel of something better, but only because the cast and crew involved is top-notch. But for some reason, the Commuter feels like it’s a tad bit more lazy than we’re used to with these goofy movies of his; it’s mostly just depending on us to love seeing Neeson kick ass, take names, and use those particular skills of his, but not expect much else. We got that a bit with Run All Night, but even that felt overcooked and melodramatic, making it feel like a missed opportunity altogether.
And the same could be said for the Commuter, which feels like it wants to be about something a little bit more meaningful and, possibly, political, but ultimately, ends up not being that. That’s okay, though – the movie wants to be big, dumb and silly and not make any excuses for itself. The only issue is that the Commuter isn’t as fun as it should have been, what with the plot making practically zero-sense and the eventual twists and turns that come around seem as if they’re just getting crazier and more random as they’r explained.
Once again, it’s like everyone’s on autopilot here, just depending on Neeson to do his usual thing of ass-kicking.
And well, he does, so yes, he’s dependable in that sense. But even watching Neeson, now 65 years of age, it’s getting a little hard to watch him doing the over-the-top things he does in these movies and taking them even one bit as serious. I know that we’re probably not supposed to, but even in the silly B-movie thrillers like these, there has to be some air of realism, because if we don’t have that, what’s the point? Have a movie take place in an alternative dimension where a 65-year-old Irishman can jump from one platform to another, without so much as a little scratch?
Maybe I’m asking too much, I don’t know. What I do know is that the Commuter, while fine, also seems like the possible downfall of these B-thrillers that Neeson has gotten so used to. Maybe now he can continue to focus on being a solid presence that he was before Taken, and still showed every once and awhile after.
Consensus: As per usual with these B-thrillers, the Commuter is silly and over-the-top, but also a little lazy and feels too crazy and random to truly ever take seriously. Like not even once.
5 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Lionsgate