Hot Take: It’s 2018. Why are people still fucking with Liam Neeson’s family?
If you’re a movie villain, at this point, shouldn’t your bad guy dossier have a picture of Liam Neeson in it with some sort of instructions to avoid his family at all costs? The Commuter is proof positive that this is very much not the case as Neeson plays a former police officer turned insurance salesman who is laid off and approached by a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga) on the commuter train he takes every day to hypothetically do “one little thing” and receive $100,000. The premise is Neeson’s Michael will find a target on the train, place a GPS tracker on them and walk away. Simple enough, right?
When Michael goes to the bathroom and finds $25,000, he realizes the situation isn’t so hypothetical. When he balks at the request and attempts to leave the train, Michael is warned that someone is watching his every move and also receives his wife’s wedding ring as an ominous message. As he scrambles to figure out who the target is and simultaneously attempt to get off the train, Michael continues to try to get messages to authorities which leads to the death of a fellow passenger who he enlists to help him. Concerned for the welfare of his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) and son (Dean-Charles Chapman), Michael will stop at nothing to secure his family’s safety. Sound like anything we’ve seen Liam Neeson involved with before?
The movie then devolves into one set piece after another featuring Neeson and a number of close calls or awkward fight scenes with strangers on the train. While some reviews liken the film to Murder On The Orient Express or Strangers On A Train, the only reason you would liken the film to either one of these films is because it takes place on a train. It would be similar to likening Snakes On A Plan to Flight because, well, airplanes. It does have the typical Liam Neeson intensity, though, and builds to a serviceable third act (despite appearing to rip off Speed in a way).
While this isn’t high art, what we have here is an obvious dump month flick that will likely outperform most of the garbage that comes out in January. For what it’s worth, it moves briskly enough to keep the average viewer moderately interested. Plus, once you threaten Liam Neeson’s family, he’s going to have to kick your ass.
Liam Neesons is your shit!
Taken called. They want their protagonist back.