Review: The Commuter

Written by Aaron Radcliff:

There’s something enjoyable about watching the recent string of Liam Neeson action movies. Maybe it’s his smooth, authoritative tones talking us through a life-or-death situation. Maybe it’s because I start picturing him as Oskar Schindler halfway through and I develop a severe case of the giggles. Or maybe it’s because this is all thanks to the runaway hit that was Taken and now I can rely on the same dumb joke when talking about his movies. I’ll try it now: In his latest movie, Liam Neeson is “Taken” for a ride.

Yes, I can hear you all laughing now.

But let’s put our serious faces on because Neeson is back with his latest crime-action film, The Commuter. Or as I like to call it: Taken: A Ride….yes, it’s still funny.

Brought to us by Jaume Collet-Serra (director of the surprisingly good Orphan and The Shallows), The Commuter sees Neeson as Michael McCauley, a former cop who is faced with a proposition by a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga). All he has to do is find somebody on the train and mark them to be killed in exchange for his family’s safety and $100,000. Fairly simple premise and it happens to work.

Ok, I say that it works, but only as much as what you’d expect from a movie released in January.

I was never sold on seeing this because the marketing just….well, it made it look stupid. And it is. But it’s a fun kind of stupid, like a puppy that keeps running into the wall and peeing in its own face. Thankfully, The Commuter never tries to be that smart. We get our setting, we get our premise, we get our fight scenes, and we’re done. A solid hour and forty minutes is enough to flesh things out enough to be interesting and enjoyable without dragging.

I’ll admit that the idea of a conspiracy with everything controlled by some all-seeing entity and the claustrophobic atmosphere of a public train would be fun if I wasn’t continually bombarded with memories of Eagle Eye and Source Code, admittedly far better movies. But the conspiracy and the investigation into the unknown person’s identity dangles enough intrigue to keep you interested and the fight scenes are fun without getting too terribly unrealistic.

The Commuter is fine. It’s average. Run-of-the-mill. What else do you want me to say? It’s January. If your theater isn’t showing any of the Golden Globe nominated movies, then go for this. It’s better than most January releases and should work for an enjoyable date night.

Who knows. Maybe you’ll find yourself being….”Taken” for a ride.

That’s still funny.

Score: 6 out of 10


Image via Lionsgate



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