It's that time of the year again where we have yet another actioner with Liam ‘Don't call my agent’ Neeson, and yet again this is another collaboration between him and director Jaume Collet-Serra, this time being their fourth time working together after such delights as Unknown, Non-Stop, and Run All Night. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if they become this generation's DiCaprio and Scorsese. The ‘plot’ involves Neeson as a fired businessman who ends up getting caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home. By all coincidences, he's also a former cop with a particular set of skills and just resorts to punching people up the train carriages until he finds the person he's blackmailed to finding. Sounds almost similar to Non-Stop, doesn't it?
Realistically, if you've seen Non-Stop or Run All Night, then you know instantly the kind of movie you're expecting with this, and in all honesty, there is nothing new here that you haven't a bazillion times before. It starts off with a semi-promising start with decent drama and a puzzling yet intriguing scenario, yet after roughly 25 minutes in, it just resorts to Liam doing exactly what he did in Non-Stop, which is punching and shooting people down the aisles until he finds the culprit. Run All Night too also fell into this trap, which too started off with half-an-hour of semi-character setup before turning into B-movie actioner, and with this film now being the third time in a row to follow this pattern, it does start to come as both repetitive and tired as a result. The other guest actors in this film don't get much too do and are wasted because of it, like Sam Neill and Patrick Wilson. Even poor Florence Pugh is relegated to a glorified cameo role.
It's a real shame too considering the fact that Liam Neeson is a charismatic presence who has lent some truly great turns in films like Schindler's List, Kinsey, and Batman Begins. Hell, even his role as Good Cop/Bad Cop in The LEGO Movie has more development and weight than his role here! So, it just seems that after the surprise sleeper hit of Taken back in 2008 that there was demand for more of the same, which became more and more less significant as those movies went on. The Commuter is by no means a god-awful terrible movie; if you're bored during a Friday afternoon then there's some mindless pleasure in giving it a watch and it does its bog-standard running-punching-shooting reasonably well. So in the end, it's roughly on a par with Run All Night, it's less fun than Non-Stop and Unknown, but is more entertaining than the Taken sequels, however, just like Roger Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon, you do get the impression of Liam thinking he's "too old for this shit".
THE COMMUTER / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JAUME COLLET-SERRA / SCREENPLAY: BRYON WILLINGER, PHILIP DE BLASI, RYAN ENGLE / STARRING: LIAM NEESON, VERA FARMIGA, PATRICK WILSON, JONATHAN BANKS / RELEASE DATE: MAY 21ST