Liam Neeson and action films are like fish & chips – you pretty much can’t have one without the other if you want a full meal. Sometimes, it feels like you can overindulge with fish & chips, but Neeson’s fourth film with director Jaume Collet-Serra still gives us a pretty solid action flick to satisfy your taste buds.
Neeson plays an insurance broker named Michael McCauley, who has spent his last 10 years commuting in and out of the city in a job that supports his family. But after getting fired, his visions of the future are clouded, especially as his son is off to college soon. He’s approached by a woman named Joanna, offering Michael $100,000 to find one individual on the train. Losing your job changes your perspective, and so the story unfolds to show something bigger than just tracking someone. But the story isn’t what you’re coming for, it’s Liam ‘Taken’ Neeson.
10 years since the action staple came out and it’s as if Neeson is a genre of his own, so your expectations might be slightly lower. However, there are some of the best action scenes that the actor has ever done coming through in The Commuter. There are a few similarities to Non-Stop (basically, this film but on a plane), but each new story that Collet-Serra tells with his leading actor learns from the previous, meaning the action keeps moving at a better and much more wellrounded pace. The narrative is a bit of a mess, but it doesn’t matter when you’ve come for some good 90 minute action romp. In fact, the absurdity of the film just adds to the enjoyment.
Casting wise, there’s a lot of great talent not fully exploited including BAFTA Rising Star nominee Florence Pugh who will definitely be stepping up to bigger and better roles in the coming years. Jonathan Banks and Vera Farmiga allow scenes to unfold in safe hands, but the focus is always on our leading man Neeson, and so it should be. He’s 65 and still punching the hell out of multiple people like it’s nothing! There’s already another film in the works that builds on this director-actor relationship, and it’s exciting to see what the next level will be.
The Commuter isn’t winning any awards, but it doesn’t have to; just a solid action film. It accomplishes this easily, and adds a few truly great fight sequences to take it home. It’s also relatively short which is refreshing in the sea of loads of Oscar-buzz films. Grab your popcorn and settle in for a train ride of fun.