Liam Neeson, stop trying to have a family or travel anywhere. It never works out for you. This movie is a train wreck.
“A businessman is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home.”
Seriously, this was the exact look I had on my face when I left the theatre. It was a mix of what the hell did I just watch, and when is Liam Neeson going to stop making these kinds of movies? Look I know it’s January, the best-worst movie month of the year. What I mean by that is, usually great Oscar movies come out during this time, but January is also home to the terrible action/thriller like The Commuter. I see a lot of movies, but this will be tough to beat for the worst movie I will see in theatres this year. Look it’s just not very memorable, I thought Neeson was going to be his usual badass self, wasn’t really the case here. I’m also really tired of seeing Liam Neeson yell into his cell phone about “STAYING AWAY FROM MY FAMILY!”
So Michael MacCauley (Neeson) is an ex-cop turned insurance salesman who is having big time financial trouble. He’s been taking the same commuter train for the last 10 years; he’s a regular and knows all the other regular passengers. When Joanna (Vera Farmiga) confronts Michael about finding a certain person on board and when he does that he will receive 100 thousand dollars. Seems simple enough right? Vera Farmiga, she’s just so wonderful, I’ve really loved her since her early work, and she’s always so terrific in whatever she’s in. For the very little screen time she does get, she’s killing it as you’d expect. So as usual in these types of movies, everything isn’t as easy at is sounds and appears. When people start dying on the commute home, Michael starts to unravel a conspiracy that goes really deep. That’s enough of the plot, because that pretty much is the entire plot, not too much to it and you’ll guess all the twists and turns before they even occur. I just wanted this not be another generic Liam Neeson movie, you know, yelling into cell phone – fights some one – uncovers another clue – more yelling into a cell phone – massive explosions – twist is uncovered – a life and death decision – credits roll. Like who is Liam Neeson’s agent? Are these the phone calls they have?
Agent: ” Hey Liam, got a great new project for you!”
Liam: “What is it?”
Agent: “Remember the movies you were in, Non-Stop and Taken? Well picture that, but on a train!”
Liam: “Do I get to yell into a cell phone?”
Agent: “Yes, more than once actually”
Liam: “Sign me up!”
At this point he deserves better, but when you are constantly type casted you really have no choice. This is his fourth go-around with director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Non-Stop, Run All Night) and I firmly believe that this is the worst of the four. The others had some good moments and I actually think Run All Night is pretty underrated. I get it, you form a bond with a director, it happens all the time in Hollywood, but for most pairings they are making great movies. Liam Neeson shouldn’t take every role Jaume offers him, because it’s doing more harm than good. The movie just never really reaches a point where I was invested. The action is bleak and shot poorly; the cast is just full of lifeless faces. Besides Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill and Jonathan Banks, the cast is so disposable and forgettable. You would think that a Liam Neeson action/thriller would have at least one great action sequence, well it doesn’t. A few hand to hand fist fights, and when they keep reminding you that his character is sixty, it’s hard to believe he can do the things he’s doing.
This is just a big dumb January action movie. If you need some time to kill or you are a really big fan of Liam Neeson go nuts. If you are like me and don’t really enjoy sitting through shitty movies, this might not be for you. I wanted to have fun with it, laugh at the corny jokes and hopefully be entertained in brief moments, but that never really did happen. Liam says he’s done with action movies, and maybe he should be, or maybe he just needs to find the right action movies to be in. Keanu Reeves reinvented himself with the John Wick franchise; I think Liam Neeson should consider doing something similar, because he’s too damn awesome to hang it up in the action genre. Overall I just didn’t enjoy this movie as much as I wanted too, I had to look up his name on IMDB, that’s how forgettable it was. When you sit back and think about it, Liam Neeson, once flew on a plane and it crashed. He was then stalked by wolves and ultimately had to bare knuckle box a wolf to the death. He got on an airplane and it almost fell from the sky. His family keeps getting taken. Maybe for his next movie, he is a single man who just walks everywhere, that would be something worth watching.
Check ya later.
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – The Commuter = 52/100