“The Commuter” stars Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern, and Sam Neill. Released on January 12, 2018, the film is about an insurance salesman who is forced to find the identity of a hidden passenger on his train.
The film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who also directed films such as House of Wax, Orphan, Unknown, and Non-Stop. This next film I’ll be reviewing is the latest collaboration between Collet-Serra and Neeson, the duo who made us afraid of having an identity crisis and going on a plane ride. Even though his filmography is far from perfect, Collet-Serra has a knack at delivering some well-executed thrills, and this movie appears to be no different. Plus, Liam Neeson has done very well as an action star, especially in his 60s. With that said, let’s see if this latest action thriller is a hit or a miss for the “thrilling twosome”.
If I were to describe a film like this, let’s just say that it’s a life-or-death version of "Where’s Waldo” on a train, with Neeson’s character trying to search for a specific passenger. This concept alone sounds like it could work as some sort of mystery thriller that makes audiences think. Instead, we wound up having an ordinary action-packed thriller…that makes audiences think. While it does have its usual action thriller cliches and a couple of predictable moments, Jaume Collet-Serra did his part in making every scene entertaining, enticing, and, more importantly, thrilling. Liam Neeson once again delivered a solid performance as Michael McCauley, an ex-cop turned insurance salesman. Vera Farmiga also did well as a mysterious woman who is throwing Michael into this situation. Her reasons behind it were either brief or vague, which pretty much explains why she’s so mysterious. Like his other films, Collet-Serra relies on thrills and twists to drive his average storytelling forward, both of which were nicely executed, especially the former. There was that one twist near the end that was a bit too obvious for me, but other than that, the director did a nice job of handling the twists without overdoing them.
Overall, “The Commuter” may have derailed itself into familiar territory, but its execution on the thrills and its engaging male lead are enough to carry itself to its final destination. It’s clearly not for the strong-minded who prefer well-written and realistic action thrillers, but for those who want an entertaining, edge-of-your-seat experience, it’s a train ride that’s worth taking. I wonder if the director is going to put Neeson on a cruise ship next?