One half of 'The Commuter' is a Hitchcockian delight, the other is an overblown mess
But it bizarrely works, especially as Liam Neeson being Liam Neeson is always fun
Director: Jaume Collet Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern
3 (Out Of 5) Globes
Plot: Insurance salesman and former police officer Michael (Liam Neeson) is on his daily commute home on the day he has been sacked from his job when he is approached by a mysterious woman. Under the initial pretense of a game, but then having inadvertently agreed to $100,000 pay check, Michael now suddenly has to uncover the identity of a hidden passenger on the train before the last stop. If he doesn’t he, his family, and everyone onboard is at risk. All the while the clock counts down as the train heads towards its final stop, leaving Michael with only a short window to keep everyone alive.
Review: The combination of Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet Serra means that audiences know exactly what to expect from "The Commuter." But while the action thriller could easily be labelled as "Taken" on a train, there’s actually a bit more to it than that. Unfortunately, that ambition ultimately derails "The Commuter," turning it from a pulsating thriller to an overblown, but still enjoyable enough, action film, which, because of the presence of Liam Neeson doing Liam Neeson things, still works. Serra also adds moments of cinematic panache that always stop the film dovetailing into mediocrity, with the opening sequence and a particular one-shot fist fight particularly impressing. Serra gets the set-up and builds the initial tension superbly, so much so that, for a while, "The Commuter" has a Hitchcockian edge. Ultimately, though, Serra trades that in for a loud, stupid, and bombastic finale, which doesn’t completely work, but still provides enough spectacle and twists to make you not hate "The Commuter." Just instantly forget about it, instead.