Actor Liam Neeson’s latest film, "The Commuter" is a thrill ride of movie, filled with action, mystery and ridiculous stunts. The film is a blend of Neeson’s classic hardcore persona with a mind-boggling story, but at times the film loses glamour, for this reviewer, with unrealistic outcomes and holes in the plot.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, 90 percent of the film takes place completely on a metro train in New York City. Michael MacCauley (Neeson), a former police officer, is a regular commuter on the metro, even developing personal friendships with some of the other regular commuters. MacCauley is also a family man, with a son leaving for college soon. When a mysterious woman named Joanna (Vera Farmiga) approaches MacCauley during one of his regular daily commutes, she blackmails him into a task to recover a bag from an unknown passenger on the train. MacCauley’s reward: the contents of the bag; enough money to solve his family’s financial problems and send his son to college. However, MacCauley soon realizes that the task is filled with corruption and is about much more than a bag and money. When his family is threatened, he goes to the ends of the earth to stop the people responsible.
Many people know Neeson from his 2009 blockbuster, "Taken" and the two sequels that followed. Neeson established himself as a no-nonsense character with serious combat skills. It seems that Neeson can’t convince anyone to cast him in any other type of role. As always, we get Neeson’s gruff, badass, savior character that everyone expects.
The best part of the movie, in my opinion, was the concept and plot itself. The film keeps viewers on the edge of their seats by continually providing unexpected twists in the plot. However, this also worked somewhat against the film as some scenes were never fully explained and certain outcomes made no sense with the rest of plot. In addition, the movie was chalk full of Hollywood stunts comparable to what one would see in a “Fast and Furious” movie. Stunts were unrealistic and over-the-top. This took away from what the movie could have been.
The movie is aided, however, with an all-star cast of actors, including Jonathan Banks, Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill, Farmiga and Neeson. In my eyes, this acting lineup is what saved the film. While being disappointed with some of the over-the-top stunts and plot holes, I was pleased with the performances of the actors. Their emotions, reactions and genuineness played the balancing act with the rest of the film’s aspects.
“The Commuter” received a 57 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. For this reviewer, the movie was enjoyable and kept me interested the entire time. Unfortunately, like other Neeson movies, it tried too hard to be another balls-to-the-walls action film.